WCHS loses to East Lawrence

Yellow Jacket Landon Kelley. (File Photo)

DOUBLE SPRINGS - The East Lawrence Eagles defeated the Winston County Yellow Jackets 20-16 Friday in a game played mostly in the rain and marked, perhaps not coincidentally, by turnovers.

Neither team put points on the board in the first quarter.

The two bands’ need to protect their instruments from the rain drove them out of the stands before the half, their absence making for a muted game experience. Meanwhile, the cheerleaders of both schools toughed it out and kept supporting their teams till the end.
Most of the scoring took place in the second quarter, which saw two touchdowns by the Jackets and one by the Eagles.

The Jackets began their first touchdown drive late in the first quarter, starting from the Eagle's 45 yard line. On the first two plays, Chris Clemons gained a total of five yards. On third and 5, Jaxson Williams gained six yards for a first down. Williams made it another six yards on the next play and nearly four more on the next, leaving the Jackets third and short. Landon Kelley advanced another three yards for a first down. Then Clemons gained 9 yards. The Jackets were second and one on the 13 yard line. RaKim Moore gained two yards and another first down. With 18 seconds left in the quarter, Kelley got the ball to the 9.

The Jackets began the second quarter on second and eight on the 9. RaKim Moore pushed forward to the 2 yard line, and then Kelley ran in the touchdown.

Will Elliott completed a pass to Kelley in a successful two-point conversion, leaving the Jackets ahead 8-0 with 11:18 left in the half.

The Eagles recovered the kickoff at their own 31 yard line and gained 15 yards in their first three plays. On first down on the 46, Canye McClure ran the ball all the way to inside the 10 before he was brought down. The Eagles made small gains on the next three plays, leaving them on fourth and goal, at which point they scored their first touchdown and followed it with a successful two-point conversion that tied the score 8-8.

The Jacket's next drive down the field fell short, but it did see one of the notable plays of the game: On fourth down and eight, the Jackets set up for a punt, only for Kelley to surprise the Eagles with a pass to Clemons that earned the Jackets a first down. That drive also saw Kelley sacked by Timothy Carter.

The next time the Jackets took possession, they started their drive on the Eagle's 23. Kelley gained nine yards over two plays. On third down, he made it to the 7 for a first down. Williams then gained another five yards. There were no gains on second down. On third and two, Kelley got the ball over the line for a touchdown. Elliott then ran it in for two points. The Jackets were ahead 16-8 with eight seconds left in the half.

In the third quarter, the Eagles were nicely set up for a touchdown when one of their players intercepted a pass from Kelley to Eli Moore and returned it to the Jacket's 17 yard line. With 6:19 left in the quarter, Jaylan Smith ran in a touchdown on fourth and three from the 10 yard line. A two-point conversion attempt was no good, so the Jackets were still ahead 16-14.
The Jackets then recovered the kick off but, on first down, fumbled the snap.

Carter recovered the ball for the Eagles. During this possession, Nick Moody sacked Eagles’ quarterback McClure. The Eagles punted on fourth down.

The Jackets took possession on their own 21 yard line. On first down, however, a fumble was recovered by the Eagles, who ran the ball in for another touchdown. The conversion attempt was no good, but the Eagles had pulled ahead 20-16 with 3:22 left in the third quarter.

On the Jacket's next possession, the team lost 15 yards and had to replay second down twice due to penalties (illegal shift and illegal block to the back).

They were still in possession and on second down on their own 42 at the start of the fourth quarter. Kelley completed a pass to Elliott, who gained what would have been about 20 yards, but the Jackets were then moved back to their own 32 due to personal foul and blindside block penalties. An incomplete pass saw them still on their 32 on third down.

The Jackets punted on fourth down—but recovered the ball to resume possession on the 25. A fumble on first down was recovered by Kelley, but the Jackets lost five yards on the play. They managed to advance ten yards in four downs. Elliott stepped in as quarterback for a play and was sacked for another loss of five yards. The Jackets punted on fourth and six on the 39.

On their next possession, after a personal foul penalty cost them 15 yards, the Eagles fumbled a snap. The Jackets recovered the ball and took possession on the Eagle's 42 with 3:27 left in the game. On first down, RaKim Moore got the ball all the way to the 25, but after that, the Jackets' attempts to move closer to the end zone were thwarted by holding and false start penalties that cost them 15 yards and left them back at their own 47 yard line. Then Kelley's pass to Marcus Blanton was intercepted by Eagle Jaylan Smith.

The Eagles took possession with 2:34 seconds remaining in the game. They soon punted on fourth down, giving the Jackets' one last chance with 1:22 left on the clock. However, Kelley's pass was again intercepted by Smith.

Back in possession, the Eagles ran out the clock and went home with the win.

Overall, the Eagles gained 132 yards, all rushing, had three turnovers and three fumbles, and made third down conversions two out of nine times. The Jackets gained 111 total yards, including 82 rushing yards and 29 passing yards, had five turnovers, two fumbles and three interceptions and made third down conversions five out of twelve times.

Next week, the Jackets will host the Carbon Hill Bulldogs, whom they have defeated the last five times the two have met, last year and in the 2012-2015 seasons. Historically, WCHS has won 25 of the 40 games it has played against Carbon Hill since 1922, per the Alabama High School Football Historical Society. Last week, the Bulldogs lost their first game of the season 55-0 to the Decatur Heritage Christian Eagles.

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