Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Ally & Jenkins Can’t Be Caught: Clay Outruns Nature Coast

Bilal Ally #4 RB ran the ball 52 times for 340 yards and scored three touchdowns as the Clay Blue Devils defeated Nature Coast Tech Friday night to advance to the Class 5A state Semifinals. Clay jumped out to an early lead when Ally scored from 2 yards out in the first quarter. Ally would score again from 15 yards as the Blue Devils began where they left off last week winning 65-58 over North Marion. But 14 points wouldn’t be enough to intimidate Nature Coast and their star running back DeShawn Smith. Smith came into the game leading the state in rushing in the playoffs with 763 yards rushing in just two games. Smith would begin to introduce himself to the capacity crowd in Green Cove Springs Florida.

#12 QB Brian Haygood lead his team down the field with Smith scoring on an 11 yard touchdown run cutting the lead. Haygood would then get in on the action with Nature Coasts next possession. Haygood would take a designed run 75 yards for a touchdown, as Nature’s Coast got back into the game in the second quarter. Clay would respond to the scoring with #2 Jaylan Jenkins scoring on 15 yard touchdown run to end the scoring for the second quarter. At halftime, Clay led Nature Coast 20-14.

Nature Coast would take their first possession of the second half and drive right down the field to pay dirt. It was a drive that showed their heart and determination that no doubt contributed to their undefeated regular season.

But the Sharks could not stop the Blue Devils rushing attack. Coach Josh Hoekstra dialed up heavy doses of Ally with a sprinkle of Jenkins to keep his opponent off balance. Coach Justin Worden of Nature Coast played it close to the vest for most of the game, relying on his defense to make plays. They were able to make some incredible plays at the goalline, stopping Clay twice in the red zone on goal line stands. Yet the Sharks defense could not handle Clay between the twenties as the Blue Devils racked up over 400 yds of offense.

Clay seemed to be putting the game out of reach late in the third quarter when Ally put his team up 34-21 after a big touchdown run. But Deshawn Smith’s first play of the fourth quarter was a 64yd touchdown reception, closing the lead to six.

That’s as close as the Sharks would get to victory on the evening. After their defense held on a goaline stand, the Sharks had an opportunity to get back into the game. But a pass deflection and sack stalled their drive and Clay drove 60 yards to the end zone. Clay’s #3 Colin Wilson scored on a dive to put the game out of reach, and seal the victory for Clay.

  It was a big win for Clay and another big effort by Bilal Ally. Ally has now run for over 1,000 yds in only three playoff games, including his three touchdown effort tonight. His senior year has been one for the record books, but he doesn’t let that get to his head.

“I don’t let the paper hype my head up. I feel accomplished and I’ve set goals throughout my years in high school. This year I’m accomplishing many of them, and hopefully there will be many more to come”. – Bilal Ally

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  Clay has two more goals to accomplish as a team. Number one will be defeating their next round opponent, and number two will be to win the State title. Clay will celebrate their win tonight as they advance to the 5A State Semifinals to face Wakula.



Check back with Duval Sports for Highlights and post game interviews of this game!



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