Any rivalry game carries its share of smack talk, and then the players leave it all out on the field. With no room to talk big in the last decade, the Jaguars finally ended their Classic City Championship drought, winning 17-7 at Clarke Central last Friday.
Each team came into the game 3-2 with this being their first region game. The win gives the Jags an inside track for the postseason.
The game began with a bang as Junior Jaiden Williams caught a 50-yard pass to start off the first quarter. While the Jags didn’t score, the ball movement started to build momentum.
“It gave us more spirit as the game went on and gave us the energy to make us believe that we could beat Central,” said Williams.
Clarke Central quarterback Isaac Ward, junior, struck first. He scored late in the first quarter on a seven play drive after a flag on 4th down against Cedar Shoals. That quarterback keep was the only touchdown of the game for Central as the Cedar defense stepped up to the occasion, sacking Ward once while intercepting him four times.
“It just put a fire in them that we could lose, so we came out harder than we’ve been playing,” said Williams.
The Jaguars also intercepted a halfback pass late in the 4th quarter.
After halftime, Jaguar senior Quarterback Ki’Yonnice Smith and senior running back Osiris Walker ran in the two touchdowns. Junior Gabe Bush followed by converting both extra points and a field goal. Bush recently joined the team after keeping statistics for the WJAG-TV live sports broadcast crew this season.
“He (Bush) takes a lot of pressure off of the offense. He really helps us when we need him,” said Williams.
Smith went 5-9 passing for 68 yards, and 16 yards on the ground. Senior Devontae Bankston ran for 106 yards on 11 carries, and Williams had 4 catches for 72 yards.
Cedar is now in a first place tie in the region with Loganville and Buford, and the Jaguars take on the Buford Wolves this week at Waters-Wilkins Stadium.
“It was game one of our region schedule so hopefully it will motivate them to continue to work hard and keep doing the things that we’ve done to get to this point,” said Head Coach Leroy Ryals, who finally got his first win over his former school.