By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
KIMBERLY — Mortimer Jordan didn’t do itself any favors with turnovers and trick plays gone wrong, but still managed to stiffen its defense and stay alive until the waning miniutes of a 28-21 loss to Walker on Friday.
Vikings sophomore running back Marlon Oliver scored three touchdowns and ran for 219 yards, but it was a touchdown pass from Bryant Adams to Isaiah Cox on the first play of the second half that proved to be the difference for Walker.
Oliver was the primary force for the Vikings, as Bryant handed him the ball a whopping 38 times. He scored the first touchdown on the first drive of the game as he found a hole from 20 yards out.
The Blue Devils promptly tied the game on a 4-yard pass from Devlin Hodges to Sam Blair roughly a minute and a half later, finishing a quick drive that started with a 43-yard flea-flicker pass from Hodges to Landon Smith.
Oliver scored again with 4:29 left in the first half on a 4-yard run, then took advantage of a fake punt gone awry by the Blue Devils. His 23-yard scoring dash was almost a carbon copy of his first touchdown, and put Walker up 21-7 at the half.
The Vikings took advantage of another Jordan miscue right after intermission, as they recovered a Devils fumble on the kickoff return. On the very next play, Bryant found Cox for 44 yards and a score.
But that was all Walker could muster for the rest of the night offensively, as Jordan’s defense — not the strongest part of their game in recent seasons — held the Vikings inside their own half of the field for almost the entire second half. Only on the last possession, as they were trying to run out the clock, did Walker cross the midfield stripe.
That’s somewhat of a change for Jordan, which has had a history of letting momentum swings like turnovers and quick opponents’ scores drag them down. It also didn’t seem to faze first-year coach Dusty Goode.
“I was just thinking what we could do to get back into the game. We just think about the next play,” he said. “I’ve told them that good things happen to good people who work hard, eventually, and we took a step toward that.”
The Devils made a game of it late when Sam Blair scored from just inches away with 2:55 left. That drive came about after Walker’s center snapped the ball way over his punter’s head, handing the ball over to the Devils at the Viking 19.
But Jordan’s subsequent onside kick went for naught, and Oliver gained a needed first down to allow the clock to expire.
Josh Moon also scored a 5-yard touchdown run for Jordan in the third quarter.
Bryant was 8-for-13 in passing for 108 yards. Hodges struggled with the passing attack all night, going 12-for-28 with a career-hgih three interceptions and just 94 yards. The Devils totaled 119 yards rushing, for 213 yards total offense.
Walker (6-2, 6-0 region) hosts Springville next Friday, while Jordan (4-4, 3-3) hosts eighth-ranked Center Point. The Vikings are ineligible for post-season play because of restrictive probation, imposed on the program by the AHSAA after their former head coach got in a fight with an assistant from Cullman in the first game of the season.
The Blue Devils are still in the running for a playoff berth, though they are tied for the fourth spot with Springville, which faces Walker next week. If both lose and stand at 3-4, Jordan would have the head-to-head tiebreaker due to their win over the Tigers. Springville must upset the Vikings to get into the post-season, and Jordan must also lose.