A-J scores homecoming victory over Pinckneyville
It didn’t take long for the host Anna-Jonesboro Community High School football team to take charge last Friday night, Sept. 28.
Kyle McMahan scored on a 91-yard kickoff return to open the game and the Wildcats went on to a 35-7 win over Pinckneyville in A-J’s homecoming game.
A-J head coach Brett Detering said that before the game, the Wildcats focused on getting off to a good start.
“Then, the kickoff return goes for a big play,” he noted.
The kickoff return set the tone for the game, as A-J’s offense continued to roll.
“It was a nice win for us on homecoming,” Detering said. “They only scored on us on a turnover. To just give up seven points is really solid defense.”
The Wildcats held the Panthers to 71 yards rushing and 50 yards passing.
A-J freshman Noah Treece kicked the extra point after the first score and the Wildcats were ahead for keeps 7-0 with 11:45 remaining in the game.
After the Panthers were forced to punt, the next A-J drive stalled on an incomplete pass on fourth down deep in Pinckneyville territory.
“We were first and goal from the five,” Detering said. “We didn’t score and they get the ball. We had to come away with a touchdown then.”
Following another Pinckneyville punt, the Wildcats’ offense began clicking again.
McMahan scored on a 7-yard run to cap a 5-play drive. Treece’s extra point kick put A-J on top 14-0 with 47.4 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
After the next Panther drive stalled at midfield and they were forced to punt, the Wildcats were on the move again.
A-J quarterback Conner Jerolds connected with Cameron Tweedy for a 12-yard touchdown pass after a lengthy 11-play drive.
Treece’s extra point kick put A-J on top 21-0 with 4:07 remaining in the first half.
Garrett Fabec sacked Pinckneyville quarterback Hunter Riggins for a loss to thwart the Panthers’ next drive as the first half concluded.
“It probably could have been 28-0 at the half,” Detering said. “What we did on offense was not fancy, but efficient.”
After the Panthers were forced to punt to open the second half, the Wildcats offense went to work again.
Jerolds scored on a 2-yard run at the end of a time-consuming 12-play drive that drove 88 yards down field.
Treece’s extra point kick put A-J on top 28-0 with 2:04 remaining in the third quarter.
Pinckneyville’s lone score was set up then after Riggins, who was also playing defense, picked off Jerold’s pass.
Four plays later, fullback Chase Fulkerson scored on a 19-yard run. Ben Restoff’s extra point kick pulled Pinckneyville to 28-7 with 8:30 left in the game.
After another punt by the Panther’s Restoff, A-J was on the move again.
Drake Roach scored on a 5-yard run at the end of a 6-play drive.
Treece then closed out the scoring with the extra point kick with 3:39 remaining in the game.
After another Panther punt, A-J drove into Pinckneyville territory as the game ended.
McMahan led A-J’s 321 yard rushing attack with 94 yards on 7 carries. Detering noted that McMahan, who had his most yardage rushing this season, played well for the Wildcats.
Reid Morrison was next with 79 yards on 11 carries. Nate Kisat had 28 yards on 5 carries and Devon Tolliver added 20 yards on a carry.
Jerolds was 2 of 5 passing for 23 yards and a TD pass with one interception.
“We’d like to be able to throw a little better,” Detering said. “But we’re playing better and we didn’t give up any big plays.”
A-J’s Tweedy had a catch for 12 yards and Kisat had the other catch for 11 yards.
The Wildcats were missing a few key players this week, mostly with injuries, and Detering noted that all should return to the lineup for next Friday’s showdown with Du Quoin.