Jacksonville proves too much for Cordova

JACKSONVILLE — Coach Justin Jones and the Cordova sideline was absolutely buzzing after the Blue Devils’ defense secured an easy three and out against No. 7 Jacksonville on the opening drive of the game. Nothing else would be easy for Cordova for the rest of the first half as Jacksonville cruised to a 55-26 victory in their Class 4A first-round playoff game Friday night. Cordova tried to hit a big play on their first offensive snap, but the long pass was intercepted. The region-winning Golden Eagles immediately went to work on the ground on the ensuing drive. Running back Ron Wiggins rushed for 56 yards on the drive, capping it off with a 36-yard scamper to make the score 7-0. On Cordova’s next drive, tempers boiled on the field resulting in the ejection of a Jacksonville player, as well as Cordova star running back, Justin Wallace. After a short Cordova punt, Jacksonville scored again on a 3-yard run by Wiggins, making the score 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Blue Devils struggled on offense for the remainder of the half, while Jacksonville’s special teams unit took over the game. Jacksonville scored on a punt return, blocked a punt that led to a score, and recovered a fumbled kickoff that led to yet another score before the end of the first half. Those big plays made the halftime score 34-0.

To make matters worse, senior quarterback Kason Smith sustained a severe eye injury in the second quarter which ended his night. After Jacksonville’s Wiggins scored again on the opening drive of the second half, Cordova’s offense came alive. Back-up quarterback Cody Headrick found Jason Johnson in the endzone for a 25-yard touchdown pass, capping a 12-play drive to make the score 41-6. On the following possession, Cordova linebacker Jordan Perrin stepped in front of a Jacksonville pass and rumbled 60 yards for a big return. Running back Elijah Thomas did the rest, punching the ball across the goal line for a 5 yard touchdown to make the score 41-12. The Golden Eagles (9-2) added touchdowns on a long run and a pick-6 on the next two drives to push the score to 55-12. Cordova (5-6) then pounded out a 13-play drive behind the strength of their offensive line and Jack Gable’s tough running. The drive was capped by a touchdown run from Ashton Nash. Nash followed up the touchdown run with a fumble recovery on defense. The Blue Devils last score of the season seemingly came on an incredible one-handed catch and run by Mason Robertson, but the play was called back. Gable was able to run the ball in a few plays later from 15 yards out however, finishing up the scoring to end the game 55-26.