By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
KIMBERLY — Mortimer Jordan learned something going into the first round of the playoffs — their defense against an old-fashioned, run-it-up-the-gut opponent like Oneonta needs work. A lot of work.
After a sputtering start for most the first half, the No. 4 (Class 4A) Redskins dominated to pound out a 38-6 victory.
There was nothing fancy at all about the Oneonta game plan. It was largely run the ball straight up the middle, or a pass on an out-route. But overall, it was “here we come, try to stop us.”
Most of the work for the Skins came from running back Terrell McDaniel. The senior running back ran for 84 yards and a touchdown, all before the midway point of the third quarter. His last hurrah was a 26-yard punt return that brought the ball to the Jordan 36, setting up a touchdown pass from Powell to Brock Latta two plays later. McDaniel opened the scoring with a 4-yard run with 5:21 in the first quarter.
On the next kickoff, the Devils got great field position thanks to a 50-yard return by Landon Smith, but were stopped scoreless inside the Oneonta 10-yard line.
Jordan blocked the punt at the end of the Redskins’ next possession, taking over on the 34. Using a hurry-up scheme, quarterback Devlin Hodges marched the ball down to the 5-yard line, where he connected with his younger brother Duncan for would proved to be the hosts’ only touchdown. (Devlin Hodges’ two-point conversion pass was incomplete.)
On the very next kickoff, Devlin Hodges executed a near-perfect onside kick, recovering the ball himself to set Jordan up again. But again, Oneonta stopped that drive, as the ball went over on downs when a fourth-and-two run by Landon Smith was a foot short.
The Redskins then scored twice in the last minute of the first half. Avery Reid finished off a 52-yard drive with a 7-yard run with 51 seconds left. Then on the ensuing kickoff, return man Trey Peters fumbled the ball away on his 24-yard line, and Oneonta got close enough for a 20-yard Tyler Short field goal as time expired.
In the second half the game belonged almost totally to the visitors, who methodically marched down the field on the opening drive, capped by a 14-yard pass from Powell to Rashad Roberson. Not quite two minutes later, the Redskins took advantage of the great field position from McDaniel’s long punt return on his last play of the night, which was immediately followed by a 24-yard run by Reid. Powell found Latta on the next play with 5:09 left in the third.
Javon Russell powered much of the Oneonta rushing attack from that point on, scoring on a 1-yard plunge with 8:13 left in the game.
Jordan had two sustained drives in the second half, but both came up empty-handed. A 12-play possession in the third period stalled at the redskins 25 when a Devlin Hodges pass zigged and the intended receiver zagged. A 10-play drive in the fourth quarter ended on the 10 when Sam Blair was stuffed at the line of scrimmage on fourth down.
The frustration was evident in Jordan coach Dusty Goode’s voice afterward.
“We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities, but our biggest enemy has been Mortimer Jordan the whole year,” he said. “I told my team that if I stay here, before they run me off I want us to be a team like Oneonta — when they talk about a ‘powerhouse’ team, that’ll be us.”
Oneonta’s dominance was evident on the stat sheet, as they gained 395 yards overall on 75 plays, with 250 yards rushing on 48 carries. Powell was 12-for-15 for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
By contrast, Jordan mustered only 191 yards on 62 offensive plays, and a paltry 65 yards rushing on 27 attempts. Devlin Hodges was 19-for-35 for 126 yards. Jacob Dean had seven receptions for 48 yards.
The Devils (4-6, 3-4 region) travel to Muscle Shoals, which was ranked third in Class 5A before their loss to Bob Jones on Friday night.
The Redskins finish the regular season with a 9-1 record; their only loss came at Pinson Valley in the season opener. They will host West Limestone in the first playoff round next week.