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October 12, 2021

SIZING UP THE COMPETITION

in Football

Throwing around a huge size advantage, Class 2A’s fourth-ranked Albany dominates Meridian Yellowjackets for District 8-2A, DII win

MERIDIAN — Coming off their first win of the season, the Meridian Yellowjacket opened District 8-2A, Division II competition against the defending district champion Albany Lions. And not only were the Jackets facing the pre-season favorites to repeat, they were taking on the fourth-ranked team in the state.

With Meridian unable to match up to a distinct size disadvantage, Albany dominated in all facets of the game on its way to an overwhelming 84-7 victory last Friday night at Jacket Stadium.

“Albany has a good team and may play for while,” Meridian head coach Wade Morton said. “Weight wins, and Albany had plenty of it. We had some a few plays that looked good, but overall, not enough. We didn’t have a good matchup all night, both offensively and defensively. All credit goes to the kids and parents of Albany.”

Led by junior quarterback Cole Chapman, it proved to be all Albany, all night as the Lions compiled 645 yards of total offense featuring a balanced attack on the ground and through the air while eight different players found the end zone.

On the third play of the game, Albany junior linebacker Koy Cauble knocked the ball loose and senior linebacker Cooper Fairchild recovered the fumble at the Meridian 24-yard line. Two plays later, senior fullback Brooks Neece powered straight up the middle for a 19-yard touchdown run.

The Lions held Meridian for a three-and-out on its next possession, and it only took two plays to get back in the end zone. Junior quarterback Cole Chapman connected with junior receiver London Fuentes for a 13-yard scoring strike to take an early 14-0 lead.

After holding the Jackets to another quick three-and-out, Chapman hit freshman running back Ashton Bailey for a 56-yard gain to the Meridian three-yard line before Neece plowed in for the score.

Still unable to get the offensive attack moving against the swarming Lion defense, the Jackets handed the ball right back to Albany again. This time, the Lions mounted a seven-play, 53-yard drive before junior running back Coy Lefevre sliced in from five yards out for the score to put Albany up 28-0 in the first quarter.

But the Lions weren’t done yet as Fuentes pulled down an interception on Meridian’s next possession and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Following the ensuing kickoff, junior running back Samuel Rosas got into the act with a 75-yard scoring strike from Chapman to build an insurmountable 41-0 advantage before the Jackets got on the scoreboard.

Meridian’s only score came for special teams as John Bernal broke through with a 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. But from there, it became all Albany once again as the Lions closed out the game by scoring 43 more unanswered points. In the meantime, the Jackets managed only 24 yards of total offense while turning the ball over four times.

Defensively, Junior Rodriguez led Meridian with five tackles, followed by Maddi Jones and Jordan Sheffer with three apiece, and Jonah Utton with two takedowns.

This week, the Jackets (0-1 in district, 1-6 overall) will have an open date before resuming District 8-2A, DII action with a road game at Cross Plains (0-1, 4-2) Oct. 22. The Buffaloes lost their district opener at home to the Hico Tigers, 14-6, last Friday night.

“Now we have a week to get healed up and full strength for the stretch run,” Morton said. “We just need to get better during the bye and get healthy.”

Photos by WENDY OROZCO

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