ATHENS -- Because St. Teresa has dominated in so many of its games this season, standout running back Jacardia Wright has sometimes had a light workload.
“There were times when he'd only get four or five touches the first half and we'd sit him the whole second half,” coach Mark Ramsey said.
Unfortunately for Athens, St. Teresa's second round playoff opponent on Saturday, Ramsey said his staff came into the game set on running the ball with Wright. They kept the senior back busy – getting him the ball on six straight plays to start the second half – and the plan resulted in a 48-7 win in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.
Wright finished with five rushing touchdowns, and he broke long runs once he went outside. He got tosses, took jet sweeps and bounced draws to get there.
“Our plan was to get to the outside and we did it,” Wright said. “When I got to the outside, I saw my blockers and I was just following their blocks. If I see green grass, I'm taking it all the way.”
It was yet another successful day for the senior, but one he had to work for. He lowered his shoulders and churned his legs for minimal gains, but regrouped and continued to run hard on ensuing plays for what would demoralize Athens and lead to breakthroughs.
Wright was so busy Saturday that quarterback Jack Hogan didn't throw the ball much.
“And I've got some really good receivers,” Ramsey said. “But when you have Jacardia, it's hard to go away from him when you're trying to win a football game.”
After they fumbled on the opening drive and St. Teresa followed that with a score, the game already seemed lost for Athens. Their wing offense, based on power running, wasn't going to keep up with the high-powered Bulldogs.
A young, undersized St. Teresa defensive line stonewalled Athens' running attempts all game. That impressed Ramsey.
“It was a really good win,” he said. “I knew they were going to be bigger than us up front. And we're young on the defensive front. But the kids played great. They didn't get knocked off the ball. They stayed low and played hard.”
Even as the touchdowns racked up for Wright and St. Teresa, Athens stayed committed to the power running, getting very little yardage and keeping the clock running.
The undefeated Bulldogs (11-0) celebrated with a tailgate following the victory. But they'll get back to work to prepare for Tri-Valley (7-4) next week.
“Let's stay together and get another one,” Ramsey told his players. “I'm proud of ya.”