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Golden Glimpse at Jacksonville’s Eagles

Jacksonville quarterback Jim Ogle eyes a pass as Saks’ Mason Stevens rushes him during Thursday’s jamboree at Saks. (Photo by Greg Warren/For East Alabama Sports Today)
Jacksonville quarterback Jim Ogle eyes a pass as Saks’ Mason Stevens rushes him during Thursday’s jamboree at Saks. (Photo by Greg Warren/For East Alabama Sports Today)

Saks, AL – Led by Ogle, Fisher, high-flying Jacksonville rolls up big first half, tops Saks 41-0 in jamboree. Oxford rolls to victory at Fort Payne

Thursday’s jamboree scores

Jacksonville 41, Saks 0
Oxford 28, Fort Payne 3
Beulah 55, Woodland 16
Handley 26, Coosa Christian 14 (one half)
Handley 22, Pell City 3 (one half)

By Joe Medley

 Jamborees are only glimpses. At first glimpse, Jacksonville comes as advertised in 2023.

Senior Troy commit Jim Ogle threw five first-half touchdown passes, and the Golden Eagles’ 41-0 halftime lead stood up as the final score after reserves played the second half on a running clock at Saks.

Ogle completed touchdown passes of six, 10 and 29 yards to Damonte Sinclair and 65 and 40 yards to Ky’dric Fisher.

Preseason ranked No. 6 in Class 4A by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, Jacksonville also got a 54-yard touchdown run from Xzavier English while scoring 34 second-quarter points. The second-quarter onslaught included consecutive one-play drives, resulting in Ogle’s scramble and 40-yard throw to Fisher and English’s 54-yard romp.

Ogle’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Sinclair capped a two-play drive.

Jacksonville’s first-unit offense put on a show behind an all new offensive line.

“It was good to come play somebody else, finally,” Ogle said. “We’ve been practicing against each other forever, but it was good. We did some good stuff up front for them young guys. It was really good for them to play against somebody else before the real stuff starts next week.”

Jacksonville quarterback Jim Ogle eyes a pass as Saks’ Mason Stevens rushes him during Thursday’s jamboree at Saks. (Photo by Greg Warren/For East Alabama Sports Today)
Jacksonville quarterback Jim Ogle eyes a pass as Saks’ Mason Stevens rushes him during Thursday’s jamboree at Saks. (Photo by Greg Warren/For East Alabama Sports Today)

A lot of what Jacksonville did looked familiar as Ogle enters his fourth year as the Golden Eagles’ starting quarterback, but they occasionally used Fisher like a running threat. He crossed behind the line of scrimmage for quick shovel-type passes and jet sweeps.

Fisher’s 45-yard run started Jacksonville’s first scoring drive, a six-play, 75-yard march that ended in Ogle’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Sinclair in the first quarter.

“Any time you get the ball in his hands, it’s a good thing,” Jacksonville coach Clint Smith said. “He’s a play maker. He’s one of our play makers. If we can get him the ball on a jet sweep or something like that, it’s high percentage. Just let him do the work.”

Entering his 22nd year as a head coach, Smith coached nine years at Saks before moving to Jacksonville in 2012. That included seven years as Saks’ head coach, between 2005-11. Thursday’s jamboree marked his first outing at Saks since 2017, when the Wildcats won a 34-27 classic en route to a Class 4A, Region 5 title and 13-1 season.

Unranked in Class 3A headed into 2023, the Wildcats enter their first season under head coach Alphonso Freeney, hired after Jonathan Miller took the Piedmont job.

“Just like I told our coaches, this starts with us,” said Freeney, who came to Saks after leading Pasco (Fla.) High School to a 9-2 season in his first season as a head coach. “We let them kind of slack and go through the motions at practice this week, and it showed.

“We’ve got to tackle, but at the end of the day, the one thing I was proud of is they didn’t quit on me. That’s going to be great. We’re going to be fine, and these kids believe.”

Thursday’s jamboree also marked the coming-out party for Saks freshman quarterback Jamorris Young, who followed older brother Sean Parnell’s path from Ohatchee to Saks. Parnell led Saks to the 2021 Class 3A semifinals and an overtime classic against Piedmont.

Young showed flashes Thursday. On Saks’ most promising drive, he hit a 44-yard pass to Justin Cosper and a 15-yarder to Dorrien Walker to spot the Wildcats at Jacksonville’s 1-yard line with a chance to tie the game in first quarter.

After a series of penalties, including a false start and ineligible receiver on Saks and two defensive pass interference calls on Jacksonville, the Golden Eagles made a stand. Young’s pass on fourth and goal from the 4 fell incomplete.

“He’s a freshman, and he made some big plays tonight,” Freeney said. “With some of those, our quarterbacks weren’t live, so there were some where he stepped up, and they were able to sack that, otherwise ‘J-Mo’ is gone. He’s going to get 10 or 15. He’s going to run on them.

“We’re going to be fine.”

OXFORD 28, FORT PAYNE 3: At Fort Payne, Oxford’s starters won the first half 21-0, and reserves and junior varsity played in the second half.

Quarterback Mason Mims completed 15 of 23 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns, one to Camare Hampton and the other to Jayden Lewis. Lewis and running back Jaydon Thomas caught four passes apiece, Lewis for 34 yards and Thomas for 24. Thomas also rushed for 31 yards and a touchdown.

D.K. Wilson led the Yellow Jackets with 39 yards on six rushes.

Backup quarterback Maddox Mims threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Jaylin Robinson for Oxford’s second-half touchdown.

Jacksonville’s Imoree Young runs after catching a pass as Saks’ Mykese Gaffney pursues during Thursday’s jamboree at Saks. (Photo by Isabella Hurst/Golden Eagle Media)
Jacksonville’s Imoree Young runs after catching a pass as Saks’ Mykese Gaffney pursues during Thursday’s jamboree at Saks. (Photo by Isabella Hurst/Golden Eagle Media)

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