FOOTBALL ROUNDUP: Athens topples Bob Jones, Madison Academy and Sparkman roll
ATHENS — Bob Jones (1-1) was unable to keep pace with Athens (1-1) on the road, falling 35-28 Friday night in an offense-heavy affair.
The Golden Eagles were powered by the strong play of their quarterback Brogan Gross who ended up with four touchdowns in the victory.
Athens receiver Jay’shon Ridgle finished the night with two TD catches and a rushing score.
The Patriots’ signal caller Dylan Willingham collected a pair of touchdown passes in the defeat.
Willingham sustained a left leg injury late in the fourth quarter and the Bob Jones quarterback had to be helped off the field as he struggled to put weight on his knee.
It was a game that was full of back-and-forth action as the contest was tied at 7-7 followed by a 14-14 deadlock and then at a 21-21 score before Athens took control of the game.
Bob Jones took the early 7-0 lead at the 5:29 mark of the first quarter when Willingham found receiver Malachi Foster for a 13-yard pitch and catch.
Athens hit right back to make it 7-7 at 2:25 when Gross spotted Ridgle for a 23-yard strike.
The Patriots retook the lead 14-7 on the next drive thanks to an 8-yard gallop by running back Tyren Washington just before the end of the first quarter.
The Golden Eagles wasted no time evening the score back up at 14-14 when Gross connected with Ridgle a second time for a 62-yard hookup at 11:27 in the second quarter.
Bob Jones stormed back on the next possession to lead 21-14 when Willingham found Caleb Sanders wide-open down the middle of the field for a 57-yard touchdown grab at the 10:25 mark of the second quarter.
Athens got the ball back and was driving down the field with chunk plays even with the Patriots’ defensive back Tiger Flanigan flying around smashing receivers with hard hits.
The Golden Eagles knotted the game back up at 21-21 when Ridgle reached the endzone for a third time with a 26-yard rushing score with 8:40 to play in the first half.
When Bob Jones got the ball back, Athens was able to halt the sequence of trading scores as the Patriots stalled out.
Just before halftime, the Golden Eagles took the lead for good when Gross dropped the ball into the hands of Johnson Speegle for a 29-yard TD catch in the endzone.
Gross was smashed by Bob Jones pass rushers right after he released the ball that found its mark to make it 28-21 Athens.
When the teams came back out after halftime, the game shifted to a defensive battle in the third quarter with several punts and no points by either side.
Athens was able to go up by two scores at 35-21 with 11:47 to play in the game when Gross linked up with Caiden Dumas for a 37-yard touchdown catch.
Bob Jones’ fumbles by Willingham and Washington down the stretch dashed the Patriots’ chances of mounting a comeback on the road.
After Willingham left the game with the injury, he was replaced by backup quarterback Sheldon Graham who took the Patriots down the field with the clock running under one minute to score a touchdown.
This pulled Bob Jones within seven, but an onside kick that skipped high in the air into the hands of an Athens player put the game on ice for the Golden Eagles.
The Patriots are back in action this Friday against rival James Clemens (1-1) at Madison City Stadium at 7 p.m.
Madison Academy 49, Randolph School 20
The Mustangs of Madison Academy (2-0) made it look easy with a dominant 49-20 home victory over Randolph School (0-2) on Friday.
Madison Academy hung 21 points on the Raiders in the first quarter with their ability to make big plays.
Ken Cherry hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Tucker Vickery to give the Mustangs the early 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
After going up 14-0 on a rushing touchdown, Madison Academy made it 21-0 when the senior speedster Jackson Reece was off to the races for a 51-yard rushing score in the opening quarter.
A 9-yard rushing TD for Cherry in the second quarter pushed the Mustang advantage to 28-0.
By halftime, it was already 35-0 Madison Academy.
Randolph got on the scoreboard in the third quarter with a 65-yard pick-six that made it 35-7 Mustangs.
Cherry continued to terrorize the Raiders when he broke free once more for an 85-yard rushing touchdown to balloon the score to 41-7.
Randolph would find the endzone again to give them 13 points in the second half, but Madison Academy was always there to answer with more points of its own.
The game continued to stay out of reach when Mustang Joshua Williams collected a 51-yard rushing TD for a 49-13 score.
The Raiders would get one more touchdown to make it 49-20, but the damage had been done by the Mustangs who had run wild in this game.
Madison Academy returns to its home field on Friday to play host to Pennington (1-1).
Pennington’s most recent game was a 42-20 loss to Locust Fork (2-0).
Sparkman 65, Huffman 0
The Sparkman Senators (2-0) hit the road and left no doubt with a thorough beating of Huffman (0-2) on Friday.
The Senators scored 21 points in the first quarter, 14 in the second, 14 more in the third, and then 16 in the fourth quarter for a massive 65 mark that gleamed on the scoreboard like a black eye.
Yes, Sparkman’s season opener with Hazel Green was halted after one half of play due to a “disturbance” but the Senators, who tallied 31 points in that game, are still pitching a shutout through two games 96-0.
Defensively senior Yves Ponder II led the way with his 12 tackles while junior Josh Murphy finished with 10 tackles for the Senators including a sack in the blanking.
Sparkman senior quarterback Josh Ward completed 5 of 9 passes for 83 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the win.
On the ground, the Senators had big contributions from the senior Jayden “Drip” Thomas who rushed for 100 yards with a score, while junior running back Jaiden Scott used his legs to gain 78 yards with a pair of TDs.
Receivers Amaree Jabbar and Brodie Slate both scored touchdowns in the rout.
Sparkman next squares off at home against the unbeaten Austin (2-0) on Friday.
Austin’s last game was a 35-3 road defeat of Decatur (1-1).