Jaguars First Practice Of 2010 Preseason Camp

August 7, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama hit the field early Friday morning for their first day of preseason practice. With more returning players, the Jags have more leadership and more organization in their first practice. Not that last years practice was disorganized by any means. These returning players have a determined focus and knowledge of the South Alabama system that they can help guide the incoming freshman through their initial paces.

In a little over two hours of practice time, it quickly became obvious to both the new transfers and the incoming freshmen that the Jaguars mean business. After coming off of an undefeated inaugural season, it would be easy to begin preseason camp with ease. But that would not make their road to FBS any shorter.

Practice began with about 15 minutes of special teams punt coverage before the offense and defense split to opposing sides of the field. The quarterbacks went through pass plays beginning with wide receivers, then running backs and finally tight ends. While the defense worked on pursuing ball carriers down the sidelines.

After about 35 minutes of split offensive and defensive drills, or about 50 minutes into the practice session, linebackers and defensive backs grouped up and began going through pass play coverage while the offense continued going through passing plays but they also added running plays.

The next 15 minutes had 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills while defensive linemen and outside linebackers faced the offensive line and attempted to pressure the quarterback.

After that session, the offense and defense split again. The offense went back to working on its plays while the defense focused on formations, coverages and rushing the passer.

A 10 minute period had 11-on-11, offense versus defense, drills. The offense was able to complete three of ten passing attempts, including the last two attempts by Brennan Sim. The only other to complete an attempt was Raymond Cotton who found Erling Riis on a screen play.

The returning players came out and were definitely bigger and stronger. Coach Jones attributed their first day effort to their weight and conditioning training over the summer. During the summer, only the strength and conditioning staff are allowed to work directly with the student-athletes. Coach Jones commented, “One thing I noticed in walking around with the other coaches is that we look a lot better than we did last year physically on the field. Now, we have to translate that into playing well. Just because we look good doesn’t mean we’re going to play good. The challenge for the guys is that they have to transfer some of that weight they’ve gained into being great players.”

Linebacker Justin Dunn, one of ten returning defensive starters, was quoted saying, “The talent level has improved, and so has our depth.” Not only are more players are on the team in the way of freshmen, but five transfers from  FBS (formerly Division I-A) should make an immediate impact for the Jaguars.

Raymond Cotton, one of the latest and definitely biggest press garnering transfers to the South Alabama program was quite impressed with his first practice. “They bring it out here, harder than I thought they would,” he was quoted saying.

Jake Johnson, linebacker transfer from Virginia Tech, was also impressed with his first practice with the Jaguars. “It was intense, especially compared to what I was used to at Virginia Tech. This is the hardest practice I have been a part of since high school two-a-days. It was non-stop, which made it tough, but it was a fun practice.”

Coach Joey Jones can see improvements in the size, strength and depth of his team as they hit the field in preparation for their second season. But one of his goals since the end of last season was to make sure that he and his staff take time to thoroughly examine the program to see where they could improve as well. Coach Jones said, “We spent the whole off-season trying to get better. The staff has done a great job of looking at what we did last year, seeing what people are doing around the country and trying to learn. We’re not going to make wholesale changes, but would like to add things that fit with us.”

With the unfortunate passing of Jaguar running back Anthony Mostella, Coach Jones announced that his memory was to be honored by having a distinguished senior wear his jersey in his honor. The team took a vote on Wednesday when the players reported to campus and Coach Jones announced that Justin Dunn would wear the number 5 jersey. “I’m excited about it,” Dunn said about the honor. “Mo was a close friend of mine, my next-door neighbor actually, and we played together at Birmingham-Southern for three years. It’s an honor, because he’s one of the best people I know, a great athlete, a great student and a good person. More people like him would make the world a better place.”

The Jaguars will return to the field at 7:10am Saturday morning for another two hour practice in shorts and helmets. On Sunday and Monday mornings, the Jags are scheduled to hit the field in shells before donning full pads on Tuesday.

Jags Run Record To 6-0 With Another Blowout Victory Over Milford Academy

November 8, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags homecoming saw yet another impressive showcase of South Alabama talent. The Jags score four touchdowns in the first quarter, score a total 64 points and win by 50+ points for the second consecutive game.

Big Brandon Ross opened the scoring when his 15 yard run up the middle finished the 6 play 73 yard drive with less than two minutes gone in the first quarter. The defense would force a three and out punt to set up the Jags second touchdown drive of 5 plays covering 77 yards. Myles Gibbon capped it off with a 15 yard run to put the Jags ahead 14-0 with 9:47 to go in the first quarter.

A second consecutive defensive stand forced the Falcons to go three and out again. Brennan Sim then came in to lead the offense in its third drive and quickly showed his stuff by hitting Courtney Smith (AKA Quick 6) on a 73 yard touchdown strike to extend their lead to 21-0 with 7:02 left in the first quarter still.

The Falcon offense finally got their first first down of the game on their third drive but could only manage to go 28 yards in 5 plays before being forced to punt to the Jags again. The Jags started at their own six yard line but Brennan Sim showed his poise and led the Jags on a 94 yard march in seven plays to score. Brandon Ross carried it in for this second touchdown of the first quarter. This 94 yard drive was the longest by the Jags so far this season. The Jags led 28-0 with 2:11 left in the first quarter.

The Jags then forced the Falcons to punt on their next possession and pinned the Jags back within their 20 yard line again. But the Jags would drive again. Moving the ball 76 yards in 10 plays they settled for a Michel Chapaseaux from 25 yards out to run their lead out to 31-0 with 11:49 left in the first half.

The Jags defense held again and forced their third three and out punt of the game. However a mental error in special teams play gave the ball back to the Falcons at the Jaguar 31 yard line, which they would take advantage of by scoring on a 30 yard pass but failing to convert the PAT left them at 31-6.

A big return on the ensuing kickoff put the Jags at the Falcon 19 yard line. Five plays and 19 yards later, Anthony Mostella took the ball in for a touchdown from one yard out to extend the Jaguar lead to 38-6 with 6:32 left in the first half.

The next Falcon possession was another three and out punt. However the Jags would give the ball right back on the next play with an interception at the Milford 12 yard line. Forced to punt from their own endzone, the punter mishandled the low snap and the Jags pounced causing a safety to put the Jags up 40-6 with 4:35 left in the first half.

With the safety, the Falcons were forced to kickoff to the Jags from their own 20 yard line with a free kick. The Jags would march 44 yards in 5 plays to cap off the first half scoring. This time Eli Smith carried the ball in from 8 yards out to run their lead to 47-6 with 2:18 left until halftime.

Milford would get the ball on the kickoff and put together their best drive of the game, moving the ball 67 yards in 8 plays only taking 1:38 to do it. Their drive ended with a 7 yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds left in the half. Would kneel on the ball to go into halftime with a 47-12 lead.

The Jags rolled up a dominating 456 yards of offense in the first half with 322 of them coming on the ground.

The third quarter saw a lul in the scoring with only Michel Chapaseaux adding a 39 yard field goal with 8:57 left in the third quarter for a 50-12 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter Clifton Crews picked off a Falcon pass and returned it 49 yards for a Jaguar touchdown. Lawson McGlon added the PAT for a 57-12 lead. Then on the next Jaguar possession, Ryan Scott scored on a one yard run to end the 11 play 64 yard drive for the last Jaguar touchdown for the final score of 64-12.

Unfortunately Myles Gibbon went down with a foot injury late in the game after a long pass completion. He was helped off the field by the trainers and immediately went to the trainers table where they worked on his ankle. He walked off on crutches and later came back to watch the remainder of the game with the South Alabama students. The initial prognosis is that its a broken ankle but X-rays are scheduled on Monday to confirm.

Twelve different Jags carried the ball for a total of 396 yards, led by Brandon Ross’ 6 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Myles Gibbon ran 3 times for 59 yards and a touchdown.

Passing Gibbon went 2-of-5 for 33 yards, Brennan Sim was 2-for-3 for 90 yards including the 73 yard strike to Smith for a touchdown. Nick Owens was 2-for-6 for 40 yards and an interception. Gabe Graham was 0-for-1.

Receiving Courtney Smith was the only Jag to catch more than one pass with 2 for 76 and the only touchdown. Erling Riis caught one for 30 and Taylor Noon caught one for 29.

Clifton Crews led the way with 7 total tackles but Ken Barefield led the team in solo tackles with 4.

The Jags totaled 538 yards of offense (the most this season) with 397 of them on the ground. The Defense only gave up 185 total yards with only 35 of them rushing.

The Jags were penalized eight times for 89 yards and the Falcons were flagged seven times for 67 yards.

After the game Coach Jones had this to say: “It was a big win again. I’m proud of the kids for playing well. It’s just a matter of executing well and playing hard. We’ve got a short week coming up, and we’re going to start getting ready early in the morning for the game on Thursday. We’re looking forward to it because they’re going to be one of the best teams we play. They’re leading the nation in offense in Division III, so we’ve got a great game to look forward to this week.”

Brennan Sim thought the offense did its job. “I think we moved the ball well. We executed, which we need to continue to do,” he said. “What we saw on film is what we got. We hit them big on a couple of plays because they played a lot of cover zero, so they didn’t even have a safety out there.”

Ryne Baxter, an offensive lineman who got his first start in place of an injured Cory Pitman, said, “The coaches prepared us well. We worked hard all week, so I was ready to step up when I was called on. I was a little nervous at first, but after the first play I knew I was going to be alright.”

Milford Academy head coach Bill Chaplick joined the ranks of opponents coaches who spoke highly of the Jaguar team. “This was a great experience for my guys to come down here. We are normally a blitzing defense and South Alabama was able to take us out of that. We weren’t able to get to the quarterback until we were down 28 points and that killed us. Offensively, we just weren’t able to do anything either.”

The Jags will have a very quick turnaround with their next game coming up on Thursday night. The weather over the next couple days may cause the coaches headaches in preparing for Huntingdon College with the potential for heavy rain for Monday and Tuesday. The Hawks will come into the game with an 8-1 record after downing Coach Jones’ former team, Birmingham-Southern, on Saturday.

Kickoff Thursday night is scheduled for 6pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Go Jags!!

Jags Continue Their March Towards An Undefeated Season With Win Over Fork Union

November 1, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags continued their march towards an undefeated inaugural season with a big victory over Fork Union on Saturday with a spectacular display of passing. Coach Jones said over the last two weeks that they wanted to be able to pass the ball more effectively and be a more balanced team and it showed.

After stopping the Blue Devils on their first possession, the Jags did not hesitate to put on a display. The first Jaguar play from scrimmage saw freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon find Courtney Smith open for a 64 yard touchdown pass. Then the Jaguar defense stopped the Blue Devils on their ensuing possession forcing a second three and out punt. Again Gibbon threw to Smith who would take it 60 yards for a second touchdown and putting Courtney Smith in the record books as the first Jaguar to have over 100 yards receiving in only two plays.

The Jags defense would hold the Blue Devils to a third consecutive three and out punt. With the offense moving the ball again, covering 36 yards on two plays, the Jags would lose a fumble at the Blue Devil 19 yard line. But the Blue Devils would not have the ball long after being force to punt for the fourth consecutive possession of the first quarter.

The Jags would score their third touchdown of the opening quarter when Brandon Ross took it in from two yards out. Michel Chapuseaux would miss the PAT attempt so the Jags lead would be 20 with about four and a half minutes left in the first quarter. Ross’ run was set up by the previous play when Brennan Sim found Lamontis Gardner for a 40 yard gain.

Even with a 20 point lead in the first quarter, the Jaguar defense could smell blood. On the ensuing Blue Devil possession, Zach Brownell pounced on an interception and returned it 30 yards. This set up a field goal by Michel Chapuseaux of 24 yards to extend the Jags lead to 23.

But the defense wasn’t done yet. Just two plays later the Jags forced a fumble which Montavious Williams scooped up and returned for a 24 yard touchdown to round out the Jaguar scoring in the first quarter. The Jags would outgain the Blue Devils 217-8 on their way to the 30-0 first quarter score.

The Jaguar defense would forst another three and out on the next Blue Devil possession. After getting the ball on the Blue Devil 15, the Jags only took three plays to punch it into the endzone with Santuan McGee’s 2 yard touchdown running capping off the short drive for a 37-0 score.

The Blue Devils would finally get get a first down and move the ball on their eighth possession going 31 yards in seven plays before turning the ball over on downs at the jaguar 34 yard line. Sim would then lead the Jags on an 8 play 66 yard scoring drive which saw Brennan Sim throw his first career touchdown pass to Anthony Mostella for a 44-0 lead with 6:57 left until halftime.

The Blue Devils would then see their longest possession of the game get cut short just before halftime when the Jags Jerron Mitchell intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards with 1:07 left until halftime. The Jags would run two plays and go into halftime with a 44-0 lead.

The Jags would open the second half with another first in Jaguar history. Ralph Turner would open up the scoring in the second half with an 85 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to put the Jags up 51-0 when Lawson McGlon tacked on the PAT.

However the Jaguars shutout would be disrupted on the ensuing Blue Devil drive. Fork Union would go 76 yards in 5 plays to score their only points of the game. They attempted a 2 point conversion which fell incomplete to leave the score 51-6 with 12:49 left in the third quarter.

The Blue Devil defense would finally find a way to stop the Jaguar defense on their next possession by holding them to three yards and forcing a punt. Fork Union, forced to start deep in their own territory, had a fumble on a bad snap that Clifton Crews fell on in the end zone for a touchdown with just under 10 minutes left in the third quarter for a score of 57-6.

Again the Blue Devils were forced to punt on their next possession. Then the Blue Devil defense forced the Jags to a three and out and a punt. Fork Union then moved the ball 34 yards in nine plays before turning the ball over on downs at the Jaguar 47 yard line.

On the Jags first offensive play, Nick Owens found an open Kelly Vail for a 53 yard touchdown pass to end the scoring at 64-6.

The Jags would end the game with 60 yards rushing and 321 yard passing and 13 first downs. while Fork Union finished the game with -22 yards rushing and 213 passing.

Santuan McGee and Ryan Scott were the only Jaguar running backs to have double digit yards with 39 and 25 respectively on five carries each. Myles Gibbon would go 2-for-4 in the game for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns while Brennan Sim went 9-for-9 for 130 yards and a touchdown and Nick Owens went 3-for-4 for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Courtney Smith was the first Jaguar receiver to go over 100 yards in a game with 131 on 3 receptions with two of them for touchdowns. Lamontis Gardner would catch 2 for 73 yards and Kelly Vail would have one reception for 53 yards. Six other Jaguars caught passes as well.

Erling Riis would return 4 punts for 50 yards, one going 44 yards to set up a Jaguar score. Ralph Turner would return one punt for 23 yards as well as his 85 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Scott Garber would only punt twice with a 40 yard average and both punts ended up inside the Blue Devil 20 yard line.

Ken Barefield led the defense in tackles with five. Romelle Jones and Bryson James were credited with forcing a fumble each.

Coach Jones spoke after the game about the Jaguars performance. He said, “We came out and executed very well. The protection got better, and that’s where it all starts in the passing game. We had some wide open guys down the field on the first two passes, and Myles did a good job hitting Courtney. We just executed well.”

Courtney Smith commented about the offensive production, “We practiced it all week and I knew the first play was going to be to me, so I expected the ball and Myles threw a good one. After the first one they told me they were going to throw it to me again, so I expected it again.”

Myles added the following after the game as well, “Coach stressed to us that he wanted to open up the passing game. On the first two plays, I knew they wanted to hit something deep. They played the perfect defense for it, and it worked out. It’s one of those things where you drop back and everything just slows down. Although it was wide open, those are the passes quarterbacks hate throwing because you don’t want to overthrow them.”

Ralph Turner had this to say when asked about his kickoff return, “It’s been a stressful last four games for me because I haven’t really been touching the ball,” he said. “Once I got the ball the hole was wide open and I just ran.”

Again the Jaguars received high praise from the opposing teams coach after the game. Fork Union head coach John Shuman had this to say, “We had seen in the paper that South Alabama was working on its passing game. As we got here and watched the pregame warm-up, we knew that they would try to take advantage of the long ball early, and they did. They came back out and did it again. Once you get down 14 points, you become one dimensional – we couldn’t run the ball. South Alabama did a great job on the defensive side, they called some great blitzes and used a good scheme against us. On offense, it was obviously men against boys here. It just didn’t go our way today.”

Coach Jones commented about the Jaguars overall performance and Fork Union’s team by saying, “I’m proud of the guys today. After the last two games, we’ve really stressed coming to work every day. We’re trying to teach these kids a life lesson, and if they’ll approach their work the right way then good things happen. We probably out-manned the team we played, and we know that, but we played well – we didn’t play sloppy. The other team came in here and had a 15-hour bus ride, which I’m sure was a tough thing to do, so my hat is off to them for that. They had some really good athletes and good coaching. I think it was just a matter that our kids played well.”

The Jaguars will host Milford Academy next Saturday, November 7 for homecoming. Kickoff is set for 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Jags Preparing For Big Test From Georgia Military

October 7, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags will have a step up in competition this weekend when Georgia Military Junior College comes to Mobile on Saturday. The Jags have opened the season with two wins against prep schools, but Saturdays matchup will be their first one above the prep level.

Georgia Military comes into the game with a record of 3-2, however they are ranked 14th in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll which was released on Tueday. Over the past decade, they have been to the national championship game three times while winning it once. They have had 18 players sign with Division-I schools last year. So obviously they are very talented. Looking back they are consistently good.

The Jags strength so far this season has been their rushing game where they have averaged 287 yards per game and almost six yards per attempt. That will be tested in this game because their opponents strength has been their defense, particularly against the rush. The Bulldog defense have allowed and average of 91.8 yards per game and 2.9 yards per rush.

The Jaguar defense has allowed and average of 284.5 yards per game so far, with only 109 per game rushing. Also the Jags defense has nine take-aways, five interceptions and four fumble recoveries.

This game has the makings of a very good game and a quality test for the young Jaguars. “Georgia Military has a lot of weapons and guys that can score on you quickly. That always worries you as a coach,” Coach Jones stated. “They have a very athletic quarterback who can throw the ball and run it as well, and probably have the fastest running back that we’ve seen on film this year.”

Obviously with two such evenly matched teams the difference maker may come down to special teams play. Michel Chapuseaux converted all of his PAT attempts against Army Prep plus his one and only field goal attempt of the season. However in the first game Coach Jones seemed skittish about attempting field goals in the first game against Hargrave, opting instead to go for it on fourth down. If the game comes down to a field goal, could Chapuseaux or McGlon come on and convert?

The Jags punter, Scott Garber, has punted only twice so far in the first two games, but he is averaging 52 yards per punt with both being downed inside the opponents 20 yard line. While Erling Riis is averaging 19 yards per punt return for the Jags. Also the Bulldogs are only averaging 30.5 yards per punt and have not attempted any field goals.

But also don’t forget about punt pressure. The Jags blocked a punt against Army and Hargrave, however the Hargrave punt block was flagged as roughing the kicker. The stat to remember here is that the team who blocks a punt wins 85% of the time. You can believe that Coach Jones and Coach Perry knows that stat and will be looking for good special teams play on Saturday.

Following are some quotes from the Jaguars media day from Monday. Possible problems the Bulldog’s offense may post to the Jags defense: “Number one, they run multiple formations. They have a very athletic quarterback that can throw the ball and run it as well. (Georgia Military) probably has the fastest running back (Tobias Palmer) that we’ve seen on film this year. He’s a very good player. They have a lot of weapons and guys that can score on you quickly. That always worries you as a coach.”

Advantages Georgia Military has over a team like Hargrave: “The advantage that (Georgia Military) has is that they have these kids for two years. During that second year, there is a big change from your freshman year to your sophomore year. They have players that are older and who have been in big games. They can teach the younger players what it is all about. That’s like our team. I think we have some older guys that have been able to teach our younger players what it’s all about, so we should be pretty similar to them. The two previous teams that we played have been all freshman. They both have been very talented, but didn’t have the older guys to try and show them how to do things.”

Coach Jones’ thoughts about the early kickoff time: “I think that it is going to work out real good for us. I like the idea of getting up and eating your pregame meal at 7:30 a.m. You don’t have to sit around all day and worry about the game. I have always liked early games, both as a player and as a coach.”

Kickoff for the Jags and Georgia Military is set for 11:30am at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Come out and cheer the Jags on against a very good team.

Go Jags!!

Jags Win Impressively Over Army Prep To Stay Undefeated

September 27, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Coming off of a three week layoff was nothing that the Jaguars could not overcome on Saturday. Not even a rain storm could slow them down too much. The Jaguar offense rolled up 500 yards of total offense while only surrendering 225 to Army Prep in an impressive 56-0 victory.

Of the 500 yards for the offense, 309 came from the running game but built their early lead via the passing game. On the games first series and facing a 3rd down and five, freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon found Courtney Smith on a wide receiver screen for a 63 yard touchdown pass 1:06 into the game.

Army Prep’s first series ended with a punt that was blocked by the Jaguar defense, however the Jags turned the ball back over on a fumble. After the defense forced another punt, Erling Riis returned the punt to the Black Knight 37 yard-line. The Jaguars only needed six plays to get the ball into the endzone when Gibbon hit Corey Besteda on an 18 yard slant play for the touchdown with 6:16 left in the first quarter.

After another Black Knight punt, the Jaguars used 1:31 in four plays to cover 36 yards for their third touchdown of the first quarter. It was capped off by Brandon Ross’s second and final carry of the game for the two-yard touchdown.

A fourth consecutive Black Knight punt set up the Jaguars for a third consecutive scoring drive, a four play 58 yard drive taking only 1:54 off of the clock put the Jaguars up 28-0 with 13:00 left in the second quarter. Brennan Sim came in for relief of Gibbon on this series. Sim found Ralph Turner for a 40 yard gain to start the possession and it was capped off with a nine-yard touchdown run by Anthony Mostella.

Army Prep took the ensuing kickoff on an 11 play 46 yard drive before fumbling at the Jaguar 10 yard line. The Black Knight defense tightened up and forced a Jaguar punt.

The Jaguar special teams pinned them back at their own six yard line when Jerron Mitchell scored on a 27 yard interception return with eight minutes left until halftime to extend the Jaguar lead to 35-0.

The second half saw the Jaguars continue their scoring when a fumble recovery would be converted to an 11 yard touchdown run by Ryan Scott with 12:50 left in the third quarter.

The Jaguar defense would force Army Prep to punt again on their next series leading to Scott scoring again on a five yard run for a 49-0 advantage.

Army Prep would then throw another interception on their first play from scrimmage which lead to the Jaguars final scoring drive. Eddy Cabrera would intercept the pass to set up the 5 play 61 yard drive was capped off by an 18 yard pass from Nick Owens to Nick Brunson with 3:10 left in the third quarter for the final score of 56-0.

Army Prep only threatened to score twice in the game, but came away empty handed both times. In the first quarter they completed a 66 yard pass but on the very next play Justin Dunn would force a fumble that Charlie Higgenbotham would recover at the South Alabama 10 yard line. The second threat had the Black Knights in the red zone but back to back sacks ended the possession.

Four quarterbacks saw action in the game for the Jaguars. Myles Gibbon finished 6 of 7 for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns, Brennan Sim went 2 of 5 for 46 yards and Nick Owens went 2 of 2 for 23 yards and a touchdown. Gabe Graham did not attempt a pass. In all the Jaguar quarterbacks went 10 of 14 for 191 yards and three touchdowns.

Courtney Smith led the receivers with two receptions for 59 yards and one touchdown. Nick Brunson was the only other Jag with multiple receptions with two for 23 yards and a touchdown. Corey Besteda was the other Jaguar receiver with a touchdown.

The Jaguar rushed 44 times for 312 yards and four touchdowns total while averaging seven yards per attempt. Eli Smith lead all with nine carries for 94 yards and a long of 31 yards. Ryan Scott had eight carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Jeremy Pacillo had seven carries for 40 yards, Anthony Mostella had five carries for 40 yards and Santuan McGee also had five carries for 19 yards.

On defense, three Jags had five tackles: Justin Dunn, Logan Bennett and Brett Hancock. Seven Jaguars had three tackles. Clifton Crews and Randon Carnathan both had a each.

Coach Jones was pleased with his team. “It was obviously a great effort. I thought we’d play well, but I didn’t know we’d play that well,” he said. “We had a lot of time to prepare, and that really made the difference today. That’s why we played as well as we did.”

Coach Jones continued, “The biggest thing I talked to the team about today was the way we prepared,” Jones said. “It would’ve been easy for our kids to let up in practice, and easy for our coaches to let up in practice. The kids didn’t lose their focus, they knew that we had an opportunity to be extremely prepared and that’s what happened today. What I learned about them is that they’re listening to what we’re saying, and they’re buying in. Just to see the looks in their eyes in the locker room after the game, you can see that things are starting to turn. You start to see the evolution of a team. We’ve certainly got a long way to go, but I think they’re starting to turn into a team and we’re only going to get better from there.”

Army Prep head coach Tom Simi had good things to say about the Jaguars as well. “We played what is going to be a very good team in South Alabama today,” Simi said. “USA is a program that is just starting, but they have some good players on their team already and I’m sure they are going to rise quickly. Obviously, today was extremely challenging for our kids.”

Coach Jones and the Jaguars will have two weeks to prepare for Georgia Military Junior College for their game scheduled on Saturday, October 10 at 11:30am

Jaguars Win Impressively In Schools First-Ever Game

September 6, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

#6 Courtney Smith scores the first touchdown in South Alabama football history on a 60-yard reception late in the first quarter against Hargrave Academy. – Photo courtesy of Doug Roberts.

The Jags came out to play in their historic first game. Some would just be content to have glimpses of good play on such a historic day. The first set of recruits stepped on campus two months ago while transfers and walk-ons got here in January. It might have been asking a bit much for a team to come together without any returning leadership to play against a team such a Hargrave and dominate from the first snap. But Coach Jones, his staff and team had other plans.

The day was already exciting enough, but when news that Chris Fowler of ESPN College Gameday mentioned South Alabama’s first game, it sent the excitement and celebration even higher. While doing the run down of important stories in the opening weekend of college football, he said “We want to salute a couple of programs playing their very first game today, Old Dominion and South Alabama.” But this wasn’t the highpoint of the day by far. The true high point of celebration came later.

The Jaguars took a little stroll, the Jaguar Prowl, from their bus to the stadium through the student tailgating section, to much ovation from fans. Then a group of musicians from the marching band made the rounds in the parking lot at the stadium, entertaining all of the tailgating fans along their way.

Later before kickoff, the band took the field for thier pregame show where, again to much ovation, spelled out the script USA logo that was recognized immediately by most people in the stands. Once they finished their play, they paused for the national anthem and the U.S. Coast Guard flyover. They then took their place near the northeast corner awaiting the Jaguars entrance to the field.

President Gordon Moulton stood at midfield on the nice new Jaguar logo and thanked the students, the fans and the board of trustees. The team captains from both sides approached midfield for the coin toss which Hargrave won and elected to receive. So the choice of end zones to defend was left for the Jaguars to decide. It did not take long for them to decide to defend the south end zone either.

The band then began playing the fight song as the cheerleaders lead the team out onto the field with flags waving. As the Jaguars went to the sidelines, the cheerleaders remained spread out across the field with two Jaguar logos and flags for U S and A prouding waving them to the stadium.

The Jaguars finally got to line up for the opening kickoff to a cheering crowd and another loud cheer when they tackled the returner quickly. The Jaguar defense would hold Hargrave and force them to punt early. On a bad snap, the punter mishandled the ball allowing the Jaguar defense to close in and seemingly partially block the punt, which drew another loud cheer from the crowd. However, the cheer would turn to jeers when the officials announced USA was being penalized for roughing the kicker.

The Jaguar defense set the tone by holding Hargrave scoreless in the first half and forcing turnovers in the Tigers’ first two possessions. The Jags came close to scoring on a drive about midway through the first quarter, however Santuan McGee fumbled at the two yard line after a 22 yard run, turning the ball over.

With only seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Jaguars had the ball at their own 40 yard line. Gibbon dropped back and found an open Courtney Smith running a go route for a 60 yard touchdown on the left sideline for the first points for the Jaguars.

Shortly after the first score, Brandon Ross capped off a five play 24 yard possession with a one yard run with 12 minutes left in the opening half to extend the Jaguar lead to 13-0. Another promising drive with about five minutes left in the first half was cut short by an interception of Gibbons pass at the goal line.

At the end of the first half, the Jaguars had another opportunity to put points on the board but without any time outs, quarterback Nick Owen could not stop the clock to allow a field goal attempt as time expired.

Early in the second half, the Jags extended their lead further when Myles Gibbon scored on an 8 yard run. With the score at 20-0, observers were excited yet amazed at how well the Jaguars were playing.

However the shutout would not last as Hargrave finally found the endzone on a 16-yard run. The extra point was blocked by the Jaguars though to make the score 20-6. The Jaguars would respond with a 25 yard field goal by Chapuseaux with 2:39 left in the third quarter to make the score 23-6. The Tigers scored another touchdown on a 35 yard reception to cut the lead to ten points, 23-13.

However, the Jags would seal the game with a hard nosed Brandon Ross run for 22 yards, stretching out at the goal line for the touchdown, with 4:19 remaining in the game to reach the final score of South Alabama 30 – Hargrave 13.

But the true celebration came after the clock hit all zeroes, after the two teams shook hands. It happened when the players went into the stands to celebrate with the Jaguar fans with the band playing ‘Jaguar Pride’ and the Alma Mater.

Gibbon finished the game going 7-for-13 for 126 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Nick Owens went 4-for-4 for 38 yards. Ross had 19 attempts for 139 yards and two touchdowns. McGee had nine carries for 58 yards with one lost fumble. Courtney Smith had five catches for 105 yards with 60 of them coming on the schools first touchdown.

Hargrave Academy’s leading rusher, Tahron Goods rushed seven times for 46 yards and a touchdown. Evan Ingram carried 9 times for 43 yards. Evan Ingram went 17-for27 with two interceptions and a touchdown. Dlapo Macarthy went 4-for-7 with an interception as well. Sean Farr caught nine passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.

In total, the Jaguars had 29 rushes for 299 yards and went 11-for-17 passing for 164 yards with one touchdown and one interception. While the Tigers ran 27 times for 133 yards and 21-for-34 for 238 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

Justin Dunn lead the team with eight tackles followed by Charlie Higgenbotham and Zach Brownell both with seven.

Other notable stats: Punter Scott Garber punted once for 47 yards and pinned the Tigers near their own 10 yardline. Erling Riis returned 3 punts for 44 yards, including a 39 yard return to set up a Jaguar touchdown.

Coach Jones spoke about the game afterwords, “We challenged the kids this morning about making this a day to remember, and they did that,” he said. “Our kids played extremely hard, our staff coached extremely hard, and we would not have had that success today had the staff not done what they did and the players bought into the program. It’s as simple as that. The players did a great job today, and I’m really proud of them. We certainly have some things we can work on, but we can go back and correct those things. I’m very proud of them coming out – a bunch of new guys and a new team – and doing what they did today.”

Defensive coordinator Bill Clark spoke about the Jaguar defense, “We were tickled to death in the first half. It was one of those deals where you come in at halftime and you’re almost scared that the other shoe is going to drop because you know they’re going to make adjustments. To come out and really not know what they were going to do – we had a base idea that they had a lot of two-back runs in the first game – our guys really hounded them, and we had a bunch of takeaways. We came in at halftime really excited, and we told our guys it was zero to zero. We were disappointed in the second half because our goal is a shutout, and we know that’s a big goal. We know we’ve got some things to work on because we want to be really stingy, but there were a lot of good things tonight.”

Also Hargrave coach Robert Prunty spoke well of South Alabama’s effort, “The thing with our kids is that they enjoyed it and South Alabama is a class act. You can tell by how they’re putting their facilities in order – we were impressed with it. Coach Jones has this program in the right direction. We’ve played against other JV programs and you can tell that what coach Jones has going on here is a good thing. Their kids played hard and you can tell they’ve been in the weight room. It was a great performance by South Alabama.”

The game was truly one of historic value. South Alabama went all out to make sure it was just that. This was a storybook beginning to what should be a long and successful novel.

Spring Scrimmage A Resounding Success For South Alabama

April 11, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

 

players, managers, trainers and staff have been involved. To come to a game like this, where I was expecting 1,500 people to be out there, to see 8,000 fans is a great testament to the city of Mobile and how they are going to support this program. I think that this town is ready for football, and they are excited about Sept. 5 coming soon.”

 

The first team offense dominated their second team opponents in the defense on Friday. Richard Ross and Matt Saucier both scored twice as the first team offense scored points on all five of its possessions. Similarly, the first team defense dominated its opponents in the second team offense by only allowing six total yards and no first downs.

The first team offense did not waste any time getting on the scoreboard. They drove 70 yards on four plays in 1:47 with Ross bouncing off two tackles to finish a 25 yard run for a touchdown. Turner sparked the possession with a 36 yard gain on a reverse to open the series.

With just over four minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Ross scored again on a one yard pludge into the endzone to cap off an eight play, 59 yard drive. On third down, Saucier found Lim Windham for a 14 yard strike to keep the series going. Later, Saucier set up the Ross score with a 12 yard scamper.

On the first units’ next drive Saucier accounted for most of the yards running the ball. He had a 14 yard run early in the series. Then one play after Saucier ran for 33 yards down the sideline, he hit Kevin Helms for an eight yard touchdown pass. The 2:13 drive spanned 60 yards on five plays.

The first team offense also put together a long drive that ended with a field goal. The drive lasted for more than eight minutes with Saucier keeping the drive alive with two big plays on third down. First was a scramble for a first down and the second was a key thrid down completion to Paul Bennett for another first down. Lawson McGlon capped off the drive with a 42 yard field goal.

Saucier would score the final points of the game with a one-yard quarterback sneak with 4:08 left in the ending quarter. In all on the final drive, Saucier ran four times. The drive covered 47 yards on eight plays including a 27 yard pass to Anthony Mostella.

The only first down the second team offense saw was on a pass interference call on its first play from scrimmage. Then two plays later they came the closest they would all game to gaining a first down when they faced a third-and-one at their own 44 yard line. Dunn hit Marquis Chapel and dropped him for a two yard loss forcing them to punt.

In total, USA gained 278 yards of offense on 43 plays with an average of 6.5 yards per snap. However, the first team offense accounted for 272 of those yards. Saucier was the leading rusher with 76 yards on 10 rushes including a touchdown. He was also 7-13 for 78 yards and a touchdown through the air.

Santuan McGee gained 41 yards on three attempts and Ross had 29 yards on three rushes while scoring twice. Ralph Turner gained 52 all-purpose yards, running for 35 and catching two passes for 17 yards. Turner was the only Jaguar player to have more than one reception.

Justin Dunn and Eric Dalgleish each had four stops, both accounted for two tackles behind the line of scrimmage, in leading the first team defense. With Dunn and Dalgleish leading them, the first team defense forced five three-and-outs with the last one seeing Richard Courtney score on a fumble return of 21 yards, which was forced by Dalgleish.

Following the scrimmage, Coach Jones announced the winners of the program’s first ever spring awards as voted on by the coaches. Trey Clark (offensive line), Andy Dalgleish (defensive line), Justin Dunn (linebacker), Tim Harvey (defensive backs), Kevin Helms (tight ends), Santuan McGee (running backs) and Courtney Smith (wide receiver) were presented with the Outstanding Performance Award at their position with Michel Chapuseaux, Eric Dangleish, Jordan Means, Anthony Mostella and Ralph Turner sharing the honor on special teams.

Paul Bennett (tight end), Josh Chestang (linebacker), Chris Cooke (linebacker), Lamontis Gardner (wide receiver), Anton Graphenreed (defensive back), Cory Pittman (offensive line), Richard Ross (running back), Matt Saucier (quarterback), Anthony Taylor (defensive line) and Lim Windham (wide receiver) were named the most improved players at their position.

The Jaguar Leadership Award was given to Bennett on offense and Harvey on defense. Dunn, Brian Krauskopf, Jerron Mitchell and Erling Riis earned the Jaguar Strength Award. Bennett and Clark were also given Outstanding Academic Awards.