Tag: Ashley Finerson

JSU stomps Eastern Washington

Ashley FinersonSports Correspondent

The Jacksonville Gamecocks played a tough football game against Eastern Washington that ended with most of the fans on their feet. Jacksonville State was able to come back from a 21-point deficit for the first time since the historic win against Ole Miss in 2010.

The first quarter was overall a rough one for the Gamecocks. It started when Washington’s Dre Dorton scored a touchdown on a 90 yard return after just the kick-off. After this setback, JSU still wasn’t able to score and was forced to punt. Once Washington regained possession of the ball, Andrew Boston was able to score a touchdown from a pass by Eric Barriere. 

Once JSU regained possession of the ball, Jamari Hester was finally able to put the Gamecocks on the board with a touchdown from a pass by quarterback Zerrick Cooper. Though Washington ended up scoring two more times thanks to Jayson Williams and Jayce Gilder who both scored a touchdown from a pass by their quarterback. This ended the first quarter 28-7 with Washington leading and things not looking great for the Gamecocks.

At the beginning of the second quarter, JSU took action when Marlon Bridges intercepted Eric Barriere’s pass and scored an eye-catching 67-yard touchdown. Bryant Wallace was able to complete the field goal attempt for the extra point. After a failed attempt by Washington to score, JSU’s Josh Person was able to put another touchdown on the board with a pass from Zerrick Cooper along with Bryant Wallace once again successfully gaining an extra point. 

Washington eventually gained possession of the ball and were the last to score in the second quarter with a touchdown made by Jayson Williams on a pass from Eric Barriere. The second quarter ended with the score 35-21 and Washington still in the lead, but the Gamecocks now have a chance to come back for the win.

At the start of the third quarter, JSU was able to score a touchdown by running back Michael Matthews with a pass from Zerrick Cooper and an extra point added by Bryant Wallace. Washington fought to keep the lead by scoring twice more, one with a failed attempt at an extra point. T. Limu-Jones was then able to bring in another touchdown with a pass from Eric Barriere and Seth Harrison adding the extra point. The third quarter ended with the score 45-28 and Washington still ahead and the Gamecocks not ready to give up.

The fourth quarter belonged to JSU. In the beginning of the quarter, Zerrick Cooper scored a touchdown with a 15 yard rush. After a back and forth attempt to score again, JSU was once again successful when Michael Matthews scored a touchdown from a 3 yard rush and Bryant Wallace again earning them once again an extra point.

Right after blocking Washington from gaining any points at only 59 seconds left in the game, running back Michael Matthews and Bryant Wallace pulled JSU into the lead with a score of 42-45. Finally, cornerback Yul Gowdy intercepted a pass from Eric Barriere bringing in the miraculous game-winning touchdown, ending the fourth quarter with a score of 49-45. JSU pulled off their second win of the football season. Afterwards, JSU jumped seven spots in the FCS polls ranking in the top ten and knocking Eastern Washington out of their No. 4 spot.

“It was a big win, high rank team, going to move JSU up in the ranking and it felt pretty good to win in a comeback,” said JSU safety Charles Crawford. When asked what he felt the biggest accomplishment of the game was, he said that it was staying in the game, not getting their heads down and finishing the game off with a win. 

“Emotions were everywhere, but it feels so great, so awesome to come out on top after fighting so hard to win the game,” said defensive end TaCorie Russell. “It wasn’t looking good for them in a lot of spots of the game, just coming out on top in the end was the biggest accomplishment the team had.

“They played with and coached with a lot of class and we were fortunate enough to come out of it with a win. We talked about it all week about getting it to the fourth quarter and we felt like we would have an advantage in the fourth quarter being at home and we did,” said head coach John Grass. “I think a big turning point in that game was when Marlon Bridges intercepts the ball and runs it back. We started chipping away at the lead. We made the plays down the stretch to give us a chance to win the game. I am very proud of our guys after we hung around after that first quarter and we responded.”

To stay up to date with the JSU football team, follow them on Twitter at “JSUgamecocksfb” and on Facebook at Jacksonville State Gamecocks. The Gamecocks will play at home this Saturday at Burgess Snow Field on September 21 at 6 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Matt Reynolds/JSU

JSU soccer team falls to Troy University

Ashley Finerson, Sports Correspondent

After a few tough losses for the Jacksonville State University soccer team, the Gamecocks went into Thursday’s game determined against undefeated Troy University. 

The game on September 5 was a constant back a forth with who kept control of the ball. In the end, Troy was able to get past JSU’s defense while Troy kept a solid defense that proved difficult to penetrate.

During the first half, Troy held control with four shots on goal by Nathali DaSilva, Kiersten Edlund and Kendra Chasion. At the same time, the Gamecocks were able to bring in six saves from the Trojans by goalie Morgan Lerch. 

A couple of minutes after JSU player Emma Meadows attempted wide shot in the first period, Troy was able to score a goal by Nilou Asdigha. The period ending goal, which was assisted by Kiersten Edlund and Kate Lorenz put up a score of 1-0, with Troy in the lead.

In the second half, both teams put a tough fight, neither willing to give up control of the ball. After much back and forth and three shot attempts from the Gamecocks, a fourth shot was taken by Cythian Bagozzi with an assist from Cephana Deane, putting the Gamecocks on the board. After tying up the game in the second half, the game became a power struggle between both teams.

With only 14 minutes left in the game, a block from Troy’s player, Grace Mirly, was able to make the next goal with the assist from Kiersten Edlund, who also assisted in Troy’s first goal. JSU was not able to make any more attempts due to Troy’s strong defense, bringing the game to a close and Troy walking away with another victory for their season. 

With another win, Troy remains undefeated. As for JSU, this game put them at a setback and made their record 2-3. The JSU soccer team will be playing against the University of Alabama Thursday, September 12 at 7 p.m. at the JSU Soccer complex by the Pete Mathews Coliseum. 

To keep up with the JSU girl’s soccer team and for future events and dates, follow them on Facebook @jsugamecocksathletics, on Twitter @JSUGamecocksSOC and on Instagram @jsugamecockssoc.

Photo courtesy of JSU

Gamecocks win first home game of the season against UTC

Ashley Finerson, Sports Correspondent

After a tough loss against Southeastern Louisiana, the Gamecocks were able to come back strong for their first home game against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and pull out a victory.

About half way through the first quarter, Chattanooga was unable to score a touchdown, ao instead they went for a field goal in an attempt to get some points on the board. UTC kicker, Victor Ulmo, was able to successfully put these first few points on the board for UTC. 

It was not long until the Gamecocks answered back. Four minutes later, JSU came back with a touchdown by Jamari Kinsley who received a 39-yard pass from Zerrick Cooper and an extra point from Bryant Wallace, putting the first quarter to an end. 

Five minutes into the second quarter, JSU came back even stronger and scored their second touchdown by Austin Kinsley in a 28-yard rush and Bryant Wallace putting the extra point on the scoreboard. This was followed by yet another touchdown by the gamecocks, giving JSU a generous lead for the game. Chattanooga continued to fall short of scoring a touchdown, forcing them to go for another field goal, which was once again successful by UTC kicker Victor Ulmo, bringing the score 20-6 at halftime. 

Once the third quarter began, Chattanooga came back stronger and more determined to gain the lead. They were able to finally score a touchdown by starting quarterback Nick Tiano with a two-yard rush. However, JSU answered back quickly with a touchdown from a risky 40-yard pass in the fourth down by Zerrick Cooper to Trae Barry. 

“Magic! It was one of those plays where you’re on the sidelines or in the stands just sitting there watching the ball and everybody’s eyes get big, but that’s one of our strengths, and I love that about our team,” said Head Coach John Grass about the 40-yeard touchdown. “We really don’t care who makes the play, it just has to be made. Trae was having a tremendous night and he came through again. Coop put it up there. That’s another thing about Coop, he trusts us to make plays, so he’s going to give us the opportunity regardless of what’s going on.”

After another touchdown from the Gamecocks, UTC answered back just as quick, scoring another touchdown from a two-yard rush by Ailym Ford and Victor Ulmo putting an extra point on the board for the Mocs. At the end of the third quarter, the score stood at a close 27 to 20, giving UTC a chance to come back for a win

Come the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks had control of the ball. Within just 15 plays and a total of six minutes and 27 seconds, JSU’s redshirt freshman Austin Kinsey scored the first touchdown of the fourth quarter. Once JSU regained possession, after forcing UTC to punt, starting quarterback Zerrick Cooper was able to rush one yard to score the second touchdown for the fourth quarter. The game ended with JSU 41 and Chattanooga 20.

Wide receiver Josh Person, had three complete catches from quarterback Zerrick Cooper, and also had a total gain of 25 yards throughout the game. As for quarterback Zerrick Cooper, he had an undoubtedly great game with a total of two touchdowns, one interception and a total gain of 334 yards.

After the game, third year player Zion Webb said, “It felt great to win.” It can be easily assumed that the rest of the team felt the same way. JSU football team is now 1-1 for their record and this game had put Chattanooga’s record 1-1 as well. 

“We didn’t play well in our first game, but we didn’t let that define us. We came back, we played well at home, had a great crowd and the atmosphere was top-notch from the Southerners to cheerleaders to Cocky. We had close to 20,000 people, so it was a good night all around. We beat a good Chattanooga team, but we still made some mistakes we’ve got to correct.” said Grass about Saturday’s game. 

“There are some things that we did well, that we did a lot better than we did in the opener, so I did see a will to win from our team. We knew Chattanooga was always a really good game. We couldn’t put them all the way away and they battled back, but our team responded,” continued Grass. “It was just good to see when they scored, our offense came back and scored again. We didn’t get rattled. We came out pretty healthy and excited about moving on to this next week.”

For the next two games, the Gamecocks will be playing at home. The next game will be this Saturday, September 14 against Eastern Washington and then against the University of North Alabama the following Saturday, September 21.

To follow JSU football for future events and updates, you can follow them on Facebook at JSU Gamecocks Athletics, on Twitter and Instagram atJSUGamecocksFB.

Photo courtesy of JSU