Redskin defense smothers Jaguars Oneonta hosts Madison County in the semifinals

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL • ROUND FOUR PLAYOFF PREVIEW

Alvin Scott knocks away a pass intended for J.O. Johnson’s Charles Woodard.

Alvin Scott knocks away a pass intended for J.O. Johnson’s Charles Woodard.

The powerful J.O. Johnson running game proved to be no match for the Oneonta defense as the Redskins choked the life out of the Jaguars in a 33-0 thrashing last Friday night in Huntsville.

Oneonta (13-0) led just 10-0 at the half but rolled up 16 unanswered points to build a commanding 26-0 lead after three quarters over J.O. Johnson (11-2).

Oneonta turned the ball over on the first drive when Cody O’Toole’s deep ball to Alvin Scott was intercepted at the Jaguar 40.

Three plays later, the home team went for it on fourth-and-2 from their own 48 and the Redskins set the tone with stop at the 49.

The Redskin defense drops the Jaguar quarterback for a loss.

The Redskin defense drops the Jaguar quarterback for a loss.

Tyler Smith broke loose for 11 yards on the next play and then O’Toole found a wide open Brock Latta down the seam and the senior raced up the sideline for a 38-yard touchdown pass. Tyler Short added the extra point and the Redskins were up 7-0 with 8:25 left in the first quarter.

The defenses settled in a bit from that point on and yards became increasingly hard to find.

The Johnson defense created another turnover when an O’Toole screen pass was intercepted but the Redskin defense turned away the Jaguars with a threeand out.

The Redskins later got a great punt return from Alvin Scott to set up a short field and cashed in with a 20-yard field goal from Tyler Short to increase the lead to 10-0 with 4:31 left in the first half.

 

 

After Johnson was forced to punt on the ensuing drive, the Jaguars got a break. Jalen Johnson blocked the punt but Johnson’s Byron Frazier grabbed the deflection and streaked upfield for a gain of 29 yards and a first down.

Two plays later, the Jaguars were looking at third-and-long but Oneonta was flagged for pass interference and the drive continued – but not for long. After a short run and an incomplete pass, the Redskin defense ended the half with a pair of sacks to end what would turn out to be the Jaguars’ only scoring threat of the night.

At the half, the Redskins had rolled up 204 yards of offense to Johnson’s 62 but the Oneonta lead was just 10-0. Turns out, that was more than enough.

Friday (Dec. 7) at 11 a.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn.

Friday (Dec. 7) at 11 a.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn.

Johnson started the second half by going to the running game and picked up a first down. However, the Jaguars tried a receiver screen and it turned into a disaster when Brock Latta tipped the ball straight up and it fell into the hands of Ethan Boyd. The junior linebacker rumbled 32 yards to the Johnson 3 and Cody O’Toole scored on the next play as the Redskin lead grew to 17-0.

Two possessions later, Oneonta’s lead grew to 19-0 when Johnson blocked his second punt of the night and Thomas Boyd dropped a Johnson player in the end zone.

The lead grew to 26-0 at the end of the third quarter when Smith blasted through a hole in the line of scrimmage and raced 24 yards for a touchdown to end a 45-yard drive.

Johnson went for it again on fourth down deep in their own territory and the Redskins took over at the Jaguar 16. Smith hammered out carries of 7, 5, 1, and 3 yards for the final points of the night as Short added the extra point for a 33-0 lead with 11:11 still to play.

On a night when the Redskin passing game struggled, the running game and the defense were more than enough.

The Redskins had 20 tackles for loss in the game and Johnson managed just 26 yards on 31 attempts. The Jaguars came into the game averaging almost seven yards per rush but the Oneonta defense limited the Jaguars to five yards or less on 26 of their 31 carries.

Thomas Boyd had 12 tackles, three sacks, and nine stops for loss. Blake Bean had 11 tackles, a pair o sacks, and six tackles for loss. Ethan Boyd had eight tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery. Alvin Scott recovered a fumble.

Oneonta rushed for 162 yards, led by Smith’s 150 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries.

O’Toole completed 8 of 18 passing for 116 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Scott caught four passes for 47 yards while Latta had two catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. Smith caught a pair of passes for 19 yards.

“This time of year especially, defense wins games,” said Oneonta head coach Don Jacobs. “Our defense played very well and gave us great field position all night long. Special teams were a big part of this win, as well. We had a pair of blocked punts and our coverage units did a good job.

“Offensively, we ran the ball well and controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the night. We knew it would be that type of game and our kids responded.” After a dominant defensive performance in Huntsville last week, the Oneonta Redskins are a game away from playing for the 4A title.

Oneonta will host Madison County this Friday night at Gilbreath Stadium with a berth in next week’s 4A title game on the line.

The Tigers are into the semifinals for the first time in school history while the Redskins are back in familiar territory. Oneonta is 7-1 all-time in the semifinals and 2-1 at home.

Oneonta’s only loss in the semifinals was a 27-13 setback to eventual 2A runner-up Hazelwood in 1978.

Since that loss, the Redskins have won five in a row in the semifinals – 20-7 over Southern Choctaw, 1985; 17- 10 over South Lamar, 1987; 15-0 over Colbert County, 2003; 21-14 over T.R. Miller, 2004; and 21-14 over Anniston, 2011.

Kick off is at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30

4A No. 3 Madison County (12-1)
at No. 1 Oneonta (13-0)
All-time – This will be the first meeting
Madison County 20, East Limestone 2
Oneonta 21, Pinson Valley 16
Madison County 35, North Jackson 14
Oneonta 28, Guntersville 10
Madison County 56, Randolph 13
Oneonta 59, Locust Fork 20
Madison County 28, J.O. Johnson 12
Oneonta 49, Crossville 6
Hazel Green 14, Madison County 12
Oneonta 42, Susan Moore 0
Madison County 67, Pope John Paul II 7
Oneonta 63, Douglas 8
Madison County 54, DAR 0
Oneonta 59, Fairview 21
Madison County 75, Ardmore 14
Oneonta 63, St. Clair County 16
Madison County 66, Butler 0
Oneonta 49, Sardis 0
Madison County 56, Scottsboro 14
Oneonta 50, Mortimer Jordan 6
Madison County 35, Rogers 20
Oneonta 47, Anniston 0
Madison County 55, Lincoln 42
Oneonta 48, North Jackson 21
Madison County 35, Brooks 23
Oneonta 33, J.O. Johnson 0

The Redskins again turned the ball over early last week. But, again, in the end it didn’t really matter as the Oneonta defense never gave J.O. Johnson room to breathe.

Now, the Redskins face a Madison County team that has a star running back, a very good quarterback, and a ton of talented skill players.

Like J.O. Johnson last week, Madison County was a solid 5A team that has flourished since moving down to 4A this year. By the numbers

Oneonta is 13-0 on the year and the Redskins have been ranked No. 1 in 4A in every poll this season by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Oneonta is the champion of Region 6.

Madison County is 12-1 on the year and the champion of Region 7. The Tigers finished the season ranked No. 3 in Class 4A.

Oneonta is averaging 47 points per game and allowing 9.5 points per game.

Madison County is averaging 45.7 points per game and allowing 14.6 points per game.

Oneonta’s opponents are a combined 74-70 on the year while Madison County’s opponents are 72-71.

Oneonta has made 31 playoff appearances and the Redskins are 47-27 in the postseason. Madison County has made seven playoff appearances and the Tigers are 8-6 in the postseason.

The Redskins are 7-1 overall in the fourth round (or semifinals). This is the Tigers’ first trip to the fourth round.

Oneonta head coach Don Jacobs is 33-7 in three years at Oneonta and 55-20 overall in his career. His teams are 10-5 in the playoffs.

Madison County head coach Scott Peavey is 44-42 in eight years (this is his fourth year at Madison County; he was at Walter Wellborn for three years and Ashville for one year). His teams are 3-3 in the playoffs. How they matchup

The Redskins turned the ball over again on their opening possession last week. But, just as it did the week before at North Jackson, the defense allowed the offense to settle in. Actually, last week the Redskin defense didn’t need much help.

This week, Oneonta faces a Madison County team that will run the spread and throw the ball around a bit with a senior quarterback and very good receivers. However, the Tigers have a big senior running back that they will look to get the ball to when the game is on the line and a play is needed.

Oneonta is averaging 431 yards per game – 199 rushing; 232 passing. The Redskins are giving up 183 yards per game – 64 rushing; 119 passing.

Madison County is averaging 428 yards per game – 222 rushing; 206 passing. The Tiger defense has really struggled in the playoffs and is giving up 292 yards per game – 168 on the ground; 124 through the air. Oneonta

The Redskin passing game never got going last week. The combination of a cold, windy night and a talented J.O. Johnson secondary resulted in a season-low 116 yards for Cody O’Toole.

With the passing game struggling, Oneonta changed tactics and went old-school and ran all over the Jaguar defensive front. The Redskin offensive line, despite giving up more than 50 pounds per man in spots, hammered away and wore down the Jaguars and Tyler Smith finished with 150 yards and two touchdowns on a season high 26 carries.

Smith has now rushed for 1126 yards and 13 touchdowns on 153 carries.

Even with the season low last week, O’Toole has completed 174 of 253 passes for 2737 yards with 42 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Alvin Scott has caught 69 passes for 1133 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is one of three players in state history to go over 1000 yards in receiving three straight years.

Jalen Johnson was targeted only a couple of times last week and failed to catch a pass. He has 50 receptions for 831 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The Redskin defensive front played fast and physical last week and in the end reduced the J.O. Johnson offense to a big old blue and yellow mess.

Oneonta held the Jaguars to less than a yard per carry (31 carries for 26 yards) and allowed just 5 of 25 passes to be completed.

The Redskins collected 20 tackles for loss, with Thomas Boyd registering three sacks and nine stops behind the line. Blake Bean finished with a pair of sacks and six tackles for loss.

Bean leads the Redskins with 141 tackles, 15 sacks, and 52 tackles for loss. Ethan Boyd has 108 tackles, four sacks, and 23 tackles for loss and Thomas Boyd follows with 106 tackles, 11 sacks, and 38 tackles for loss. Madison County

The Tigers were a virtual wrecking ball during the regular season, pounding the opposition by an average score of 47-9.

However, in the playoffs the numbers (and quality of opposition) have changed. After three weeks, the Tiger offense is still rolling along at 41 points per game but the Madison County defense has really struggled.

Rogers rolled up more than 200 rushing yards in the first round and outgained the Tigers 353-350 in total yards. Rogers trailed just 21-6 at the half and scored on a 55-yard touchdown pass to trail just 28-20 with 5:33 to play.

Lincoln pounded out 348 yards on the ground and finished with 428 yards of total offense in the second round. Madison County led just 42-35 after three quarters.

Last week, Brooks led 23-21 with nine minutes to play in the game.

While the Tiger defense has given up some plays in the postseason, this is also a group that has made stops and forced huge turnovers at key times.

The Tiger offense has been a big-play machine all season long and that has continued in the playoffs. Madison County offense

The Tigers are solid at every level on offense and there are athletes with bigplay potential at the skill positions.

Quarterback Jackson Richard (6’0, 180 Sr) is as steady and solid as they come. He has completed 152 of 194 passes (78%!) for 2836 yards with 40 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. He has added 392 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and it was his 36- yard run in the fourth quarter last week that sealed the win.

Jordan Chunn is not your typical high school running back. The 5’11, 215-lb. Troy commitment has a rare combination of speed and size and he has put up big numbers this year. He has rushed for 2038 yards rushing, 614 receiving, and 36 total touchdowns. Arm tackles do not do the job against Chunn, who ripped off a 45-yard run in the fourth quarter last week to set up his own go-ahead touchdown on the next play.

He is a load to handle and has worn down defenses this year.

The Tigers lost one of their most dangerous receivers – LaQuante Bone – to a broken ankle late in the year but there are plenty of targets for Richard.

Monterio Burchfield (6’3, 190 Sr) is a hybrid TE/WR-type and he has been tough to cover. He has 57 catches for 1009 yards and 19 touchdowns. He lit up North Jackson with six catches for 197 yards and a touchdown.

Brandon Gurley (5’9, 175 Jr) is a playmaker at receiver and he is second on the team with 46 receptions for 756 yards and seven touchdowns.

The offensive line has good size (avg. 235 lbs.) and this group has dominated opposing defensive fronts – except for 6A Hazel Green and the second half against J.O. Johnson. Madison County defense

The Madison County defense was a bully in the regular season but has been pushed around a bit in the postseason.

The Tiger defensive front is athletic and active but not the biggest (avg. 230 lbs.) and that caused trouble against better running teams.

Lincoln featured a pair of 300- pounders on the offensive front and the Golden Bears ran till they got tired and finished with almost 350 yards – and that was a Lincoln team that lost four of its last five with the only win a 49-34 shootout with Sardis in the first round.

Rogers ran the ball effectively against the Tigers, North Jackson had 379 yards of offense (233 passing, 146 rushing), and J.O. Johnson had decent numbers (106 rushing, 203 passing).

The Tiger defense didn’t play badly last week, limiting explosive Brooks to just 310 total yards, but it took a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions to seal the win.

The one thing the Tigers have been able to do is rise to the occasion. Madison County has made big stops in the second half of each playoff game and that has been the difference.

Chunn leads the Tigers in tackles with 144 from his linebacker position. He also has six sacks, six tackles for loss, and four interceptions. It was his interception in the end zone that ended the final threat for Brooks last week.

Burchfield plays outside linebacker and has 121 tackles, four sacks, seven tackles for loss, and a pair of interceptions.

After the injury to Bone, Gurley has assumed the leadership role in a very active secondary. He has 72 tackles and seven interceptions – three of which he has returned for touchdowns, including a 95-yard return against Lincoln that swung the momentum of that game. Tiger special teams

Madison County is solid on special teams. The Tigers are very good in the return game – Chunn is as close to a runaway train as it gets on kick returns.

Coverage units have been solid for the Tigers but it was a pair of punt snaps through the end zone that led to the 14- 12 loss to Hazel Green.

Senior kicker Dylan Gardner has a very good leg and has been almost perfect on extra points this year. Oneonta head coach Don Jacobs – “Obviously, they are good. You don’t get to this point in the season unless you are a good team. They have good players at every position and we will have to play well again to have a chance. (Madison County) is the champion of their region and they’ve won some big games but so have we. It should be a great game.” Madison County head coach Scott Peavey – “(Oneonta) is by far the best team we will have played this year. They have a bunch of kids that play exceptionally hard on both sides of the ball. I know Coach Jacobs and he’s a great ( coach and the I know some of the guys on his staff and all of them are excellent coaches.”

Next week – The winner will face either Dora (12-1) or UMS-Wright (11-2) in the 4A championship game next Notes: Madison County has bounced between 4A and 5A over the years. This is the Tigers’ first year back in 4A after spending 2008 through 2011 in 5A. Scott Peavey took over as head coach at Madison County after Joel Poole left for Albertville in 2009 and his teams went 3- 7, 3-7, and 4-6 in 5A. This is the deepest that the Tigers have ever gone in the playoffs. In 2007, the Tigers went 11-2 and finished as the runner-up to North Jackson in 4A Region 7. They knocked off Midfield (21-16) and Saks (35-17) in the playoffs before falling to Deshler

47-28) in the third round. 4A Fourth Round South Dora (12-1) at UMS-Wright (11-2) North Madison County (12-1) at Oneonta (12- 0)