Written By: Matthew Fuller, Golden Eagle Media
The Jacksonville Golden Eagles Friday night clenched a spot in round two of the Class 4A football playoffs. Junior running back Rontarious Wiggins led the Eagles with five of the team’s six touchdowns in their 39-21 win over Rogers High School.
Coming into this game, the Eagles were undefeated and looking to make their record 11-0 this season. The Pirates won the coin toss and chose to receive the ball first. The Pirates received and put the ball on the 39 yard-line. Both teams landed hard blows while going at each other but seemed to be at a stalemate. The Pirates called their first timeout with 2:38 left in the first quarter. However, their strategy failed with Wiggins 95 yard run for the first touchdown of the game with 2:18 left in the first quarter. An extra point attempt fell short, leaving the score at 6-0 with the Eagles leading as they headed into the second quarter.
In the first 49 seconds of the second quarter, the Pirates ran the ball into their end zone for a touchdown. They kicked for an extra point and made it, leaving the Eagles trailing 7-6.
The Golden Eagles responded with a kickoff return to their 39 yard-line. With 8:05 remaining in the second quarter Rontarious Wiggins ran the ball into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night for the Eagles. The team attempted a two-point conversion but failed.
Both teams battled it out for the next three minutes until Jacksonville’s Jaeden Barksdale received the ball and ran it for another touchdown with 5:13 left in the second quarter. The Eagles’ extra point attempt was good and they secured a 20-7 lead over the Pirates. The score remained that way going into halftime.
Less than two minutes into the third quarter, Rontarious Wiggins ran the ball into Jacksonville’s end zone for another touchdown but the two-point conversion was shut down, which left the score at 26-7 in the Eagles’ favor.
The Pirates eventually answered with a touchdown with 4:51 left in the third quarter. An extra point attempt was blocked, which left the Eagles’ leading 26-13. The rest of the third quarter was full of aggressive play right up until 3:00 remained on the clock. That was when Jacksonville pushed harder than Rogers and put another six points on the score board; however, the extra point attempt was not good, which put the score at 32-13 rounding out the third quarter.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Pirates called a timeout and just a minute after the game resumed, Rogers was able to push past the Jacksonville defense and score a touchdown. Shortly after, the Pirates made good on a two-point conversion and put the score at 32-21.
However, the Jacksonville Golden Eagles were not ready to quit playing. With 3:59 left in the fourth quarter, Rontarious Wiggins pushed through the Pirates and scored another touchdown. Noah Sawyer answered with an extra point, which brought the score to 39-21 in the Eagles’ favor.
Jacksonville managed to hold the Pirates and run the clock down to clench the win and push their record to 11-0 for the season, which is a school record.
After the game, we talked with a few of the Golden Eagles. Number 4, Rontarious Wiggins said ‘’we felt like we were prepared really well, we knew Rogers was a good team because in the playoffs nobody is bad.’’ Wiggins also said that he felt confident about the next playoff game.
Number 61, Demetrious Hamilton said, “we felt great man, we came out a little slower than usual but we picked it up and got back to business.’’ Hamilton added, “next game we’re going to be 12-0, there’s no stopping us.”
Photo by: Brody Stanfield
And it appears that Golden Eagle fans are behind the team’s drive to the state championship. Erin Gaddis said ,“we just knew we had to show up and support our team and they showed us a good game. Hopefully we can have a great season and come out as champs.’’
Jacksonville will travel to Good Hope next Friday for round two of the Class 4A State Football Playoffs.