Jackets one win from playoffs

Published 8:17 am Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sitting at 5-1 the Vincent Yellow Jackets are one win away from clinching a spot in the Class 2A playoffs after downing Thorsby, 34-6, Friday.

The game was typical for homecoming, a game that often reveals the home team’s flaws.

“We came out flat in the first half,” said Spradley. “Or guys got caught up in the homecoming rah-rah this week. It’s hard when you deal with high school kids. You want them to have fun at homecoming, because it’s a fun time in their high school career, but at the same time they’ve got to focus on the job at hand, which is to prepare to win a football game.”

Vincent allowed Thorsby (0-6) to hang close in the first half, 13-6, after a 7-yard pass from Andrew Farris to Marcus Bray tied the game, 6-6. Michael Kelley answered minutes later with a 26-yard run to regain the lead before the break.

“We didn’t chew them out at halftime. We just sat them down and talked and said, ‘listen, we’re better than that,’ and we came out and showed it in the second half,” Spradley said.

Juwan Rogers, who started the scoring with a 6-yard run in the first quarter, found the end zone on Vincent’s first drive of the second half to extend the Jackets’ lead, 20-6.

Quarterback Corey Deloach later found Brett Frizzell on a 10-yard pass in the back left corner of the end zone to add more insurance.

The fourth quarter was all about clock control for Vincent, but the Yellow Jackets began to break down mentally in the final minutes by keeping a Thorsby drive a live with two face mask penalties and a couple of personal fouls.

“There’s a fine line between aggressiveness and stupidity and making stupid mental mistakes and we crossed it tonight. That’s something we’ll address next week,” Spradley said.

Thorsby drove down to the Jackets’ 3. Facing fourth down, Spradley called time out after the latest personal foul penalty was called. His challenge to his players was to control their emotions. Breaking out of the time out, linebacker Andrew Gardner did so, yelling to his teammates, “We’re going to drill ’em. They ain’t coming through here.”

Gardner took the goal line stand on his shoulders, drilling Farris for a 2-yard loss on the quarterback sneak to force a turnover on downs.

Vincent would score again on a fake punt pass to Kelley with 1:08 to play. Deloach called for the pass from the upback position when he saw a mismatch, something Spradley said he was glad to see because that is what is taught, but was not pleased at the call when leading by 21 with a minute to play.

Spradley said he plans to address the team’s focal problems this week in preparation for Fultondale. The winner of next Friday’s game will clinch a playoff spot.

“We shouldn’t have any trouble focusing the next three weeks, that’s for sure,” Spradley said.