JDA Raiders punch ticket to state finals
After a six year absence, the Jefferson Davis Academy Raiders will play for the state championship in SCISA 1A football again.
Jefferson Davis Academy punched its ticket Friday night with a convincing 30-6 win over rival Patrick Henry Academy in the semifinals at Blackville.
The Raiders took the fire out of the Patriots early as they scored on their first three possessions for a commanding 22-0 lead.
The Patriots never recovered after that initial blow. They went scoreless for three straight quarters before adding a touchdown late to close out their season.
With the win, Jefferson Davis Academy improves to 9-3 overall and avenges a 32-12 loss to the Patriots in the regular season.
“This was a great win for our school tonight,” JDA coach Michael Tindall said. “These players went through a lot this year and to be in a position to win a state title is just awesome.”
The victory sets up a meeting with two-time defending state champions Andrew Jackson Academy on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. at Calhoun Academy in St. Matthews.
The title game will be a rematch of a regular season matchup between the rivals. Andrew Jackson Academy opened the season by beating Jefferson Davis Academy 26-6 on Aug. 26 in Ehrhardt.
Andrew Jackson Academy, which has the state’s longest winning streak at 36 games, defeated Clarendon Hall Academy 30-24 in the semifinals Friday night in Ehrhardt.
Tindall said the team is looking forward to the rematch.
“We didn’t play well at all in our first meeting. We turned over the ball and we committed too many mental errors.” Tindall said. “We have to play smarter Saturday. Offensively, they like to pound the ball with their big backs. We just have to do a better job of tackling this time around.”
Against Patrick Henry Academy, the Raiders turned in arguably their best performance of the season as they dominated the Patriots on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, the Raiders were fueled by a ground game that totalled 349 yards.
Junior tailback Jimmy Bozard was again the catalyst to the Raiders’ ground game. He finished with 195 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.
Several other standouts offensively included Trent Jamison, Wyatt Brant, Samuel Frederick and Dalton Beasley.
Jamison was a good lead blocker, finishing with 66 yards rushing.
Brant rushed for a touchdown and completed a crucial 24-yard pass on the team’s third scoring possession.
Beasley scored on a three-yard run and two-point conversion attempt.
“Offensively, our line did an outstanding job of creating holes for our backs. Jimmy Bozard had another big night as well as Trent Jamison. Overall, I thought it was just a good night of execution by our offense and defense,” said Tindall.
Meanwhile, the Raiders’ defense continues to play at a high level as they held their second straight opponent to a single touchdown.
The stars of the unit this time were Samuel Frederick, Donte Payne, Trent Jamison, Tyler Renew, Jeremy Davis and Dalton Beasley.
Frederick had one of his best games of the season with eight tackles, including two for losses. Payne wasn’t far behind in production with a season-high eight tackles. Jamison and Renew were also solid inside with six tackles each.
Beasley, who stopped the Patriots’ opening drive with an interception at the 18-yard-line, finished with six tackles. Davis had another solid game in the secondary with four tackles, three pass break-ups and an interception.
“We played with a different defensive scheme tonight and it made the difference,” Tindall said. “Offensively, Patrick Henry likes to pound you between the tackles. Our defense played tighter this time and didn’t allow them to get their running game in gear.”