Jeff Davis just couldn’t get anything going against Smiths Station on Friday night.
The Panthers dominated on their way to a 44-14 victory over Jeff Davis at Cramton Bowl.
“Offensively, we didn’t have a chance to get going,” Jeff Davis coach Lee Carter said. “We had three offensive possessions in the first half. You play a Wing-T team, a clock control team, we didn’t get off the field on third down. We just didn’t have a chance to get going.”
Smiths Station’s running attack wore down the Vols’ defense and kept Jeff Davis’ up-tempo offense off the field. Led by running back Davante Marshall, the Panthers (4-0, 3-0 Class 6A, Region 3) ran 41 plays to Jeff Davis’ 13 in the first half, leading to a 21-0 lead at the break.
Things didn’t go much better for the Vols (0-4, 0-3) in the second half. Smiths Station outscored the Vols 17-0 in the third to lead 38-0 going into the fourth. The Panthers went up by as much as 44-0 before Jeff Davis scored two late touchdowns in the final quarter.
“It hurts to say, we were outcoached this game,” Carter said. “That’s all it was. Our game plan for today was not solid. We were exploited defensively. I think our defense is the heart and soul of our team, and we’ve got to do a better job of preparing those guys.”
Jeff Davis started senior Alfred Jennings at quarterback in place of KD Manora, who started the first three games. Jennings, who started last year for the Vols, went 7-for-14 passing for 106 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran 11 times for 30 yards.
“He’s a competitor, and he knows where to go with the ball,” Carter said. “We had a couple of breakdowns from the receivers, but he played a great game. The picks came off balls being batted in the air, that’s not his fault. He played a great game. He gives us the best chance to win.”
Marshall had 16 carries for 152 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers. Smiths Station quarterback Jerrell Gilmore was 6-for-10 passing for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Jeff Davis hopes to end its 15-game losing streak when it faces Stanhope Elmore on Friday in Millbrook.
“As long as there’s hope, we’ve got to keep fighting,” Carter said. “We know we’re 0-4, 0-3 in the region, but numerically speaking, we’re not out of the race for a playoff spot. I know it’s a little farfetched, but as long as there’s a chance, let’s keep fighting.”