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Quick-strike ‘Dogs bite Jemison

ANNISTON – It took Anniston only 26 seconds to score in its 27-12 victory against Jemison in the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A state football playoffs at Lott-Mosby Stadium Friday night.

Many may not have settled in their seats by the time the Bulldogs built the lead they’d never let go of.

Anniston junior quarterback Josiah Atkins dropped back to pass on their first play from scrimmage from the Bulldogs’ 39-yard line. Seeing a lane, the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder took off and scrambled 35 yards for a first down at the Jemison 26. The Bulldogs ran the option toward the left sideline on the very next play. Atkins pitched the ball to running back Adrian Woodard, who took it in for a touchdown that gave the Bulldogs a 6-0 edge with 11:34 still remaining in the first quarter.

That’s 61 yards in two plays.

Frederick Jordan’s successful extra point attempt put Anniston ahead 7-0.

Jemison, Region 3’s third-seed, looked to match the home team’s opening attack. The Panthers dug into their bag of tricks on their first play from scrimmage, going 41 yards on a reverse pass from Patrick Sims to Eddie Hubbard to get into Anniston territory at the Bulldogs’ 19. Two plays later, Jemison running back Javae Swindle scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 15-yard run on a handoff, on which he made a couple defenders miss at midfield before skating up the sideline for the score with 9:51 left in the first.

However, the Panthers missed the point after attempt, and Anniston retained the lead at 7-6.

Anniston knew coming into the contest that Swindle, the smallest player on the field at 5-foot-5, 140-pounds would be the biggest problem for its defense. Swindle, just a sophomore with moves akin to West Virginia star Noel Devine, almost notched a 100-yard performance, rushing for 97 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He also caught four passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.

He scored the Panthers only other touchdown on a 35-yard reception with 1:11 to go play in the second quarter that put the Panthers to within nine at 21-12.

Anniston (7-4) will face Bibb County (11-0), the team that ousted them from the 2008 playoffs, on the road in the second round of the playoffs next week. Bibb County defeated Lincoln 36-0 at home in their first round game.

Jemison quarterback Scott Clements completed 13 of 27 passing attempts for 162 yards. Hubbard led the panthers with five receptions for 111 yards.

Jemison’s season ends at 5-6.

“That’s a good team over there,” Jemison coach Brad Abbot said. “You can’t make the kind of mistakes we made and beat a team like that.”