SPORTS >>Jonesboro rolls over Red Devils
By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor
Jacksonville’s offense continued to struggle Friday night against Jones-boro, only this time, there weren’t two defensive touchdowns late in the game to pull out a win.
The Red Devils’ offense failed to score, while Jonesboro used a time consuming running game to topple the home team 22-7 at Jan Crow Stadium.
The huge Hurricane offensive line dominated the game, and a rock-steady fullback running behind them took full advantage.
Jonesboro senior David Terrell carried 42 times for 213 of Jonesboro’s 334 total yards. Not counting the two kneel downs that ended the game, Jonesboro ran just nine plays that Terrell’s No. 30 wasn’t called.
For Jacksonville, lots of numbers were called, but nothing worked.
The bright spot for Jacksonville was Lee Robinson’s 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
The Red Devils finished with 246 total yards, three turnovers, at least a half-dozen dropped passes including two in the end zone, a number of off-target passes, several plays for negative yardage and 90 yards marked off for penalties.
Things went so bad for the Red Devils, they lost 10 yards without snapping the ball. Jacksonville was knocking on the door at the end of the third. A seven-yard run by Robinson was called back for holding, leaving Jacksonville with second and 15 from the 19-yard line when the third quarter ended.
The officials spotted the ball on the 29 to start the fourth quarter, and kept it there after a long delay, despite the objection of Jacksonville coach Mark Whatley.
Two passes to the corner of the end zone were executed perfectly from there, except for the catch. Marcus King and Terrell L’Hrisse took turns dropping certain TD passes in the end zone before Akins was dropped for athree-yard loss on fourth down.
Two long passes on the opening drive put the Red Devils at the Jonesboro 5-yard line in the first quarter, but it ended there.
Quarterback Daniel Hubbard was pressured by Jonesboro linebacker Andy Snider. As Snider was taking him to the ground, Hubbard tried to dish the ball to the back of the end zone to King, but instead hit defenisve lineman Noble Fontenot in the chest about five yards downfield. Fontenot caught the gift at about the 10, and returned it to the 31.
The Hurricane running game plowed through the Jacksonville defense on its first drive. Nine plays took the ball to the 1-yard line, but an illegal-procedure penalty on fourth and goal forced Jonesboro to kick a 23-yard field goal.
After the two teams traded two possessions each with neither threatening, Hubbard threw another interception from the Red Devil 20. This time Sam Waddell picked off the pass and returned it to the Red Devil 25.
On the very next play, Jonesboro quarterback Delta Cleary dropped back to pass for the first time in the game, and hit a wide open Andre Jones for a 25-yard touchdown.
The extra point put Jonesboro up 10-0 with 5:31 left in the half.
Jacksonville answered quickly.
Lee Robinson took the ensuing kickoff on the right sideline, ran behind his wall all the way to the left sideline before turning up field and running 80 yards untouched for a touchdown.
Manuel Alvidrez hit the extra point to make it 10-7 with 5:19 left in the second quarter and it stayed that way until halftime.
The Hurricane scored on their first two drives of the second half to set the final margin.
The first came on an eight-play drive that included seven runs by Terrell. The drive covered 57 yards and gave Jonesboro a 16-7 lead with 8:02 left in the third.
Jacksonville got 26 yards on two plays of its next drive after a failed on-side kick, but Hubbard was sacked for a 15-yard loss to set up third and 22. L’Hrisse made a 19-yard catch on third down, but a fourth-down throw was incomplete.
Jonesboro took over on its own 19, and went 81 yards in seven plays, with the help of an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty on Jacksonville while Jonesboro was facing third and 7 on its own 36. Cleary picked up 28 yards on the next play, then hit Chris Parks for a 22-yard touchdown with 1:19 left in the third.
Another on-side kick failed, but Jacksonville backed themselves up with another holding penalty on first down. Facing second and 25, Hubbard was again pressured, and heaved the ball downfield to Akins, who made the catch and scrambled to the Jonesboro 14 which set up the confusion at the end of the quarter.
Jacksonville’s last gasp began with 8:38 after the Red Devils’ defense came up with a big defensive stop. The Jonesboro punt pinned Jacksonville on its own 3, and three crucial Jonesboro penalties kept the drive alive.
The Hurricane defense jumped off sides on third and one at the Jacksonville 45, was called for defensive holding on an incomplete pass on third and 12 from the 48, and called for pass interference on second and 10 from the Jonesboro 40.
But on the next play, Hubbard was picked off for the third time. This time it was Cody Powell that caught the long pass four yards deep in the end zone. He returned it all the way to the Jacksonville 48 before Hubbard knocked him out of bounds.
The loss drops the Red Devils to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play. They will be on the road next week at Sylvan Hills, who lost 27-12 to Mountain Home last night. Jonesboro improves to 3-2 and 1-1.