Americus-Sumter now 4-0 in 1-AAA after dropping Dougherty, 42-0

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- No one knew it at the time, but the 13 seconds it took Kedrick Jones to cover 90 yards with the game's opening kickoff for a TD was all Americus-Sumter needed to beat Dougherty on Friday night at Hugh Mills Stadium. But the 5-foot-9 senior was just warming up.

Jones, who had a hand in 24 of his team's points, also tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass and scored on runs of 11 and 54 yards en route to a six-carry, 176-yard work of art as the Panthers won their fourth straight Region 1-AAA contest with a 42-0 rout of the Trojans.

A-S improved to 5-3 and 4-0, while struggling Dougherty suffered its second consecutive shutout and dropped its fourth straight decision in falling to 2-6 and 0-4. The Trojans were blasted 56-0 by Cairo last week.

While Jones was a one-man wrecking crew, Dougherty did itself no favors by turning the ball over five times -- on two interceptions and three lost fumbles. The first fumble came on the kickoff after Jones' long return and set up his 33-yard TD pass to Indalacio Salazar, who gave the Panthers a 14-0 lead with just 1:20 into the first quarter.

And the game, in essence, was over at that point.

"Oh yeah, I was really feeling it (Friday night)," Jones said after the carnage was complete. "My line was blocking very well and I saw a lot of daylight. When I broke free, there was nothing in front of me. I've had more yards but never on as few carries. I owe it all to my line."

The game wasn't pretty from the get-go, but it was also marred by seven personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct flags. The final play of the first half saw three personal fouls called and three player ejections.

"No, that wasn't very pretty at all," a dejected Dougherty coach Jesse Hicks said. "But I tell you, brother, the last few weeks haven't been pretty either. We have a lot of work to do and much of it involves building character on this team. We are committed to winning and we want our players to also be committed. And we'll be here until it happens."

The mood was quite different in the opposite locker room where A-S coach Michael Pollock was savoring his team's highest offensive outburst of the year.

"I think we are finally starting to click as a team," Pollock said. "We're 4-0 in the region and starting to build some confidence. We haven't had a blowout win in a long time and this is exactly what we needed (Friday night): a lot of points and a goose egg. That really gets the kids excited. Now we have a week off to get healthy and get ready for Westover."

And what did the coach think of Jones' performance?

"I think he's a pretty good player," Pollock answered, grinning. "I like him. I like him a lot."

Americus boosted its lead to 21-0 at the end of the first quarter after Dougherty turned the ball over on downs at the Panthers 13 and Jones ripped off a 43-yard run to set up Malik Thomas' 11 yard TD pass to Jarod Lewis.

The Panthers made it 28-0 on their next possession when aided by 55 yards in Dougherty penalties moved from their 26 to the Trojans 11 when Jones went untouched into the end zone. Americus made it 35-0 at the half when Thomas Haugabook picked off an errant Dougherty pass and returned it 57yards for a touchdown.

The Panthers notched their final score of the evening the first time they touched the ball in the third quarter when Jones took a straight handoff and streaked 54 yards for a touchdown and the final 42-0 margin with 10:05 remaining in the third quarter.

Americus then pulled its starters.

Americus finished the game with 354 yards in total offense, while Dougherty was held to just 166.