A-J’s Dylan Fox, number 21, looks for some running room. Austin Dillow, number 50, and Caleb Clover, number 6, are blocking for the A-J runner.A-J ball carrier Arieh Hart leaves a Nashville tackler on the ground.White uniforms and t-shirts were the story at last Friday night’s Anna-Jonesboro Community High School football game. A-J had its annual White Out game to help support the work done by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The Wildcat football squad and its fans wore white for the special occasion. Photo by Tiffiny Dillow for The Gazette-Democrat.

Wildcats hold on to score 26-20 win over Nashville

The Anna-Jonesboro Community High School football team built a lead and had to fight off visiting Nashville to pull out a 26-20 win at The Pit Friday night, Sept. 16.

“It was a little bit closer that what I would have liked,” A-J coach Brett Detering said. “We did some good things, but we could do them a lot better.”

With the Wildcats ahead 26-20, the Hornets were driving in the closing minutes of the game. However, the drive stalled as the result of a Nashville holding penalty and the tough A-J defense.

“We were fortunate to get that holding penalty and our defense made a good stop,” Detering said. “We talk about being physical and wearing people down.”

The drive ended when the Hornets failed to convert on a pass on a fourth down and long yardage situation.

The Wildcats took over with 4:24 remaining in the game.

Two quick first downs, run out a lot of time and  A-J quarterback Bryce Osman took a knee with 30 seconds remaining to run out the clock. The Hornets had no timeouts left to stop the clock.

“You get the ball down the stretch – and you really have to fight for every yard,” Detering said. “You have to keep moving the chains.”

Osman picked up one first down on a short run in the drive and Jayce Turner added the other to preserve the win.

After trading punts to open the game, the Wildcats offense began moving on their second drive. Jayce Turner capped a 6-play drive with a 23-yard touchdown run.

Sheldon McGrath, who made his first appearance this season as the new extra point kicker, booted the extra point and the Wildcats were ahead 7-0 with 7:00 remaining in the opening quarter.

Jackson Boyd deflected Hornet quarterback Andrew Kash’s pass on a fourth down play to stop the Hornets next drive early in the second quarter.

The Wildcats were then on the move again. After a 10-play drive, Osman scored on an 18-yard run.

McGrath’s kick put the Wildcats ahead 14-0 with 5:55 remaining in the second quarter.

After the teams traded punts, the Nashville offense went to work. The drive was aided by a Wildcat pass interference call.

Jayce Turner then sacked Kash for a big loss, but Kash countered with a 19-yard TD pass to Neil Kachuba. The extra point kick was good and Nashville pulled to 14-7 with 20.9 seconds remaining in the first half.

The Wildcats went on an impressive 16-play drive to open the second half. Osman then appeared to be tackled behind the line of scrimmage, but broke free for a 6-yard TD run.

McGrath’s kick was blocked and A-J pulled ahead 20-6 with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter.

Cameron Parker returned the ensuing kick off back to near midfield for the Hornets. Grant Reed then scored  on the ensuing play on a 45-yard run. The extra point kick was good and Nashville pulled to 20-13 with 3:38 left in the third quarter.

The Hornets next drive was aided by a Wildcat face mask penalty.

In five plays Nashville  moved to midfield, and Kash was able to connect with Parker for a 50-yard TD strike.

“On the very first play we broke down and they get a 50-yard touchdown on a screen pass,” Detering said.  “In our previous games, we were not giving up the big plays. We just never got any breathing room in this game.”       

The extra point kick was good and the Hornets knotted the game 20-20 with 8:44 remaining.

Arieh Hart then followed with a 51-yard kickoff return to move the Wildcats to the Nashville 23-yard line.

“Arieh set us up in good field position,” Detering said. 

Three plays later, Jayce Turner scored on a 10-yard run. He was stopped on the conversion run to close out the scoring with 7:25 remaining in the game.

 Osman led A-J’s rushing attack with 120 yards in 21 carries. Jayce Turner added 102 yards in 19 carries. Fox added 44 yards in 6 carries. Caleb Clover had 36 yards in 4 carries.Trenton Turner added 27 yards in 5 carries.

The Wildcats rushed for 351 yards and Osman was 2 of 3 passing for 34 yards.

“I thought our kids played hard,” Detering said. “But we made a lot more mistakes than we did the last two weeks.”  

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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