The Valley Cubs were shut out on back-to-back possessions after driving the ball deep into Saks’ territory. The Wildcats took that momentum and ran with it, rolling to a 34-0 win on their home field.
“We played good at times in the first half, but I guess when (Alexandria) got inside the 20, we played a lot better,” Saks coach Jonathan Miller said. “I thought we were a little too hyped up. We were ready to play, but I think we were a little too ready to play, if that makes sense.
“We just did some things defensively in the first half that we don’t normally do, and they did a good job. They had a good plan, and they blocked us well. But we were able to get some stops when we needed to.”
On Alexandria’s second drive of the game, quarterback Luke Tucker found Cole Burgess for a 25-yard completion, setting the Valley Cubs up at the Saks’ 18-yard line. Alton Davis picked up a big first down with a 7-yard run down to the 7-yard line. Tyrelle Gay carried the ball down to the 2 on the next play, giving Alexandria three more cracks at the end zone.
But Saks’ defense rose to the occasion, stuffing Davis on back-to-back carries. On fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Tucker found Burgess once again, but defensive backs Reakwon Blake and Quin Smith were there to stop the Valley Cubs receiver short of the goal line.
After forcing Saks to punt, Alexandria took over once again with good field position. A 15-yard run by Deion Thomas moved the ball to the Wildcats’ 14-yard line.
After advancing to the 9, the Valley Cubs went to the air on third down, but Quin Smith was in the right place once again, intercepting the pass in the end zone to keep Alexandria off the scoreboard.
“When you are playing a team like (Saks), you have to take advantage of all the chances you have to score,” Alexandria coach Frank Tucker said. “We had two really good chances to score, and we didn’t. That really turned the ballgame around. When you get down there, you have to score. But give them credit — they held us out.”
Saks made the Valley Cubs pay immediately. Davontae Young took a handoff and raced 66 yards down the field, setting up quarterback Tre Smith’s 14-yard touchdown run on the next play. The first of Tre Smith’s four successful extra points put the Wildcats up 7-0 with 6:30 to go in the first half.
On the Valley Cubs next possession, Quin Smith pounced on the first of his two fumble recoveries, stalling another Alexandria drive.
“Quin is a good football player,” Miller said. “Quin is fearless. He’s a competitor. He has a short memory, so if he gets beat or something like that, he’s going to come back the next play even harder.”
On the Wildcats’ ensuing possession, Tre Smith found wide receiver Devin Harris on back-to-back plays to give Saks a 14-point cushion heading into the locker room. The first catch — a 25-yarder — came on a critical fourth down to keep the drive alive. A play later, the tandem hooked up again for an 11-yard score with 31 seconds to go.
“I think that touchdown they got right before the half deflated us,” Frank Tucker said. “That’s just a sign of immaturity. If we are going to be a good football team, we can’t let something like that happen.”
Saks opened the third quarter with a four-play touchdown drive that set the tone for the second half. Young — who finished with 131 yards on 13 carries — capped it with a 25-yard touchdown run.
“We challenged our kids at halftime to come out and score that first possession of the third quarter, and they did a good job,” Miller said. “It was one of our better drives of the night. The offensive line took control that drive. They blocked well. Our backs ran hard.”
Harris’ 30-yard run set up a Calvin Figueroa 2-yard score to put the Wildcats up 28-0 in the third quarter.
Harris — who finished with 68 yards rushing and 36 receiving — capped the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.