A-J outscores Sparta 48-20, wins Mississippi Division
The Anna-Jonesboro Community High School football team scored on the opening drive on its way to a 48-20 win over visiting Sparta Friday, Oct. 12.
The win boosted A-J to the Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference Mississippi Division title outright with a 5-0 conference mark and 6-2 overall record. This is the second consecutive season the Wildcats have won the title outright.
“People have to remember the last time we did this was in the 2006 and 2007 seasons,” A-J head coach Brett Detering said. “We talked a lot about winning back-to-back conference championships during the season.”
The conference title also earned the Wildcats a first round game in the Class 3A postseason playoffs.
Whether A-J will be on the road or at home in first round action, as well as the opponent, will be announced this Saturday.
After the Bulldogs were forced to punt to open the game, the Wildcats’ offense went to work.
A-J’s Reid Morrison scored on a 20-yard run at the end of a 3-play drive.
Noah Treece kicked the extra point for a 7-0 A-J lead with 9:22 remaining in the opening quarter.
Sparta came right back. After a 6-play drive, quarterback Darius Hargrove connected with Carlos Keen for a 36-yard touchdown strike.
The pass was incomplete on the extra point attempt and Sparta pulled to 7-6 with 7:12 remaining in the opening quarter.
Morrison came right back to score again on a 13-0 run after a 4-play drive.
Treece’s extra point kick boosted the Wildcats to a 14-6 advantage with 5:13 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats’ Devon Toliver intercepted quarterback Hargrove’s pass to thwart the Bulldogs’ next drive. However, A-J lost the football on a fumble on the ensuing drive.
Following a short punt by Sparta, A-J quarterback Conner Jerolds scored on a 44-yard run on the first play from the line of scrimmage.
Treece’s extra point kick hit the bar and bounced away as A-J pulled ahead 20-6 with 11:46 remaining in the first half.
The Bulldogs bounced right back and Tony Williams scored on a 55-yard kick off return.
Hargrove ran in the conversion points and Sparta pulled to 20-14 with 11:36 remaining in the first half.
A-J came right back and Damian Chrisp scored on a 2-yard run after a 9-play drive.
Chrisp ran in the conversion points as well and A-J went ahead 28-14 with 7:14 remaining in the opening half.
After the Bulldogs punted, the Wildcats’ offense took off again.
After two plays, quarterback Jerolds connected with Garrett Fabec for a 37-yard TD pass.
Treece’s extra point kick put A-J ahead 35-14 with 5:02 remaining in the first half.
The Wildcats offense continued rolling the second half.
Jerolds scored on an 18-yard run to cap a 4-play drive.
The extra point kick was off and A-J pulled ahead 41-14 with 10:37 remaining in the third quarter.
A-J began substituting early in the third quarter.
“Those kids practice hard every week,” Detering said. “It’s important to get those kids in.”
A-J’s Carson Pengress closed out the scoring for A-J on a 3-yard run after a lengthy 11-play drive.
Treece’s extra point kick boosted the Wildcats to a 48-14 lead with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs closed out the scoring for the game after three plays in the final quarter.
Hargrove connected with Keen for a 74-yard TD strike. The conversion point pass was incomplete and Sparta ended the scoring with :33 remaining in the game.
“We would have liked to held them to fewer points,” Detering said. “But we felt coming in we should win the game. We have a little more talent across the board.”
The Bulldogs finished with 20 yards rushing and 146 yards passing.
Detering noted the reason for the low rushing yardage was several behind the line of scrimmage tackles by A-J’s defensive unit.
“They tried to run the option,” Detering said. “There was not a whole lot there for them.”
Chrisp led A-J’s 392 yards rushing attack with 113 yards on 11 carries.
Morrison added 108 yards on 5 carries. Jerolds had 80 yards on 14 carries. Pengress added 16 yards on 2 carries.
Morrison was 2 of 4 passing for 67 yards. Fabec had a 37 yard TD pass to lead the way. Cameron Tweedy had the other catch for 30 yards.
“We threw the ball a little bit,” Detering said. “We had a couple of completions. It’s a thing we’ll work on in practice.”