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.
Coach Jones alluded to the Jags making some really good strides on the practice field. He said, “We really have had great practices. The last three days of last week were tremendous, we came out this week ready to go, and the kids are practicing at a high level. Usually that transfers into games, so I’m not worried.”
On Monday they practiced in shells for almost two hours then returned to full pads on Tuesday and Wednesday before cutting back to just helmets for Thursday’s practice which lasted about an hour. Coach Jones further noted about the weeks’ practice by saying, “It’s been a good practice schedule, they came to work every day and we’re executing very well too. One of the concerns on defense is they run a lot of formations offensively, and we’re trying to make sure we adjust to those formations correctly.”
Things to note about today’s match-up against Fork Union.
Look for the Jags to come out and throw more passes. Coach Jones remarked over the last couple weeks that they want to be more balanced instead of leaning so much on the run as they have the previous four games. But the Jags offense will also be tested by the Fork Union defense, which is probably their strong point.
Also look for the Jags defense to really get after the Fork Union quarterback and put some pressure on him. Coach Clark thinks that if they can get pressure on the quarterback then they can cause some mistakes and turnovers.
Jags and Fork Union kick off at 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.