Jeff Davis High’s football team improved to 4-0 last week with a 29-6 win over Long County in Ludowici. It was the fourth straight road game for the Jackets who are off this Friday night and host Bacon County Oct. 16 for the 2020 home opener which will be Senior Night [Homecoming was originally scheduled for Oct. 16 but has been changed to Nov. 13 when Jeff Davis hosts East Laurens].
Friday night’s game was marred for the second time this season by officials who were unfamiliar with the rules of the game. The Jackets were flagged repeatedly because their wingbacks line up with their shoulders not parallel to the line of scrimmage, an act that is not a rule infraction (See Tommy Purser’s column on Page 4). The players’ and coaches’ frustration with the officiating appeared to have a detrimental effect on the team’s effort in the 29-6 win — the Jackets had an uncharacteristic four turnovers.
The Jackets got off to a quick start, leading 15-0 after only two offensive plays.
The first score came when Long County punted to end the first possession of the game. C.J. Parker fielded the 41-yd. punt on the left side of the field at the Yellow Jacket 16. He eluded a tackler when returning the punt to the right side of the field where his teammates had a wall of blockers set up. So effective was the blocking that Parker went untouched on his 84-yd. scoring return.
A low snap on the P.A.T. attempt forced holder Cade Walters to throw to Austin Wood who broke a tackle and went into the end zone for the 2-pt. conversion.
Three plays after Audiel Placencia’s kickoff sailed into the end zone, the first of four of his kicks which went into the end zone, linebacker Carter Mullis recovered a Blue Tide fumble 16 yards behind the line of scrimmage to put the Jackets in business at the Long 11. After an incomplete pass and a 7-yd. Wood run, the Jackets were flagged for the first time for the way the wingbacks lined up. Wood then ran nine yards for the score. Placencia booted the P.A.T. and JD was up 15-0.
The Jackets scored on their next possession which started at the Long County 41 after a short punt. It took JD 10 plays, overcoming two 5-yd. walk-offs and a 15-yd. flag in the process. The first penalty led to Jeff Davis facing a 4th-and-3 at the Long 34 where Walters lined up in punt formation but ran instead for a 4-yd. pickup and a first down. Walters’ 26-yd. pass to Parker was the big play in the drive with Cason Clance running for 16 on the next play and then scoring from the one early in the second quarter. Placencia made it 22-0.
Late in the half the Jackets moved from their 20 to the Long 5 with Wood picking up 21 yards on two carries, Walters getting 18 on a keeper and then passing to Tyson Alls for 37 yards to the five. After Walters was stopped for no gain another penalty was assessed against the Jackets. They lined up to kick a field goal but the clock ran out before the snap.
On the third play after Long’s second half kickoff, a Blue Tide defender picked off a Walters pass and returned it for Long’s only score of the game. Mullis broke through the middle of the line to block the extra point kick.
Again, on the third play after the kickoff, Walters retreated to pass but was hit from behind and fumbled the ball. A Long defender picked up the pigskin and returned it for an apparent score but a penalty on the return moved the ball to the Jacket 25.
Long got to the 11 from where it appeared they got another score but a penalty nullified the run and two plays later, Parker picked off a pass and returned it to the Jacket 41.
A 38-yd. boot on Walters’ only punt of the game backed up the hosts to their own three yard line.
Long moved the ball out to near midfield where defensive end James Wood pressured the quarterback into a bad pass and defensive tackle Andrew Aycock burst through the line for a quarterback sack and Long had to boot the ball away.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Jackets overcame two more 5-yd. walk-offs and a 4-yd. loss on a fumble to move the ball from the 28 out to the 47, with Peyton Laney picking up 21 yards on three carries. On 3rd-and-10, Walters connected with Austin Wood for a 16-yd. completion to the Long 38 but lost the ball on a fumble.
On their final possession of the game, the Jackets marched 88 yards in 10 plays for their final score. Big plays in the drive were runs by Laney, a 12-yd. completion from Walters to Parker and a 14-yd. scoring dash by Austin Wood with blocking so effective he could have walked the distance as he was untouched. Placencia made it 29-6.
The Jackets had 192 yards rushing and 134 passing for 326 yards of total offense. The Jackets were penalized 10 times for 75 yards, had four turnovers — an interception and three fumbles and Walters punted only once for 38 yards.
Placencia was 3-for-3 in extra point kicks. Four of his five kickoffs went into the end zone and the fifth was fielded inside the five yard line and returned only to the 12.
The Yellow Jacket defense held the Blue Tide to just 79 total yards, 76 rushing and three passing. JD intercepted two passes and recovered one Long County fumble.
Score by quarters:
JDHS 15 7 0 7 -29
LCHS 0 0 6 0 – 6