By Anthony Rhoads
Before the 2003 season began, Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes said Aaron Williams would be the ?heir apparent' to star running back Tashard Choice, who is now at the University of Oklahoma.
Williams, a senior running back/linebacker, lived up to that preseason billing as seventh-ranked Lovejoy (3-0) beat Jonesboro 33-3 Friday night at Tara Stadium.
Williams didn't have a great night statistically, rushing 10 times for 31 yards and catching four passes for 43 yards, but he provided the bulk of the Wildcats' scoring.
Williams scored rushing touchdowns of 1 and 8 yards and intercepted two passes, running one back 80 yards for a touchdown.
"It was a team effort and it was our offensive line," Williams said. "In the second half they stepped it up. They made holes for us all night and I'm proud of them."
Lovejoy's defense stifled Jonesboro (1-1) all night, allowing just under 50 yards rushing and 70 yards passing.
The Wildcat defense came up big on Jonesboro's first offensive play of the game. Just 16 seconds into in the contest, Lovejoy's Robert Hall recovered a fumble at the Jonesboro 30 and ran it in for a touchdown.
On the first play of the second quarter, Jonesboro's Patrick Saxby kicked a 21-yard field goal, and that was as close as the Cardinals got to Lovejoy for the rest of the night.
With 7:89 remaining in the second quarter, Lovejoy quarterback Kisan Flakes connected with Santini Washington for a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Wildcats a 13-7 advantage.
Flakes completed 9 of 20 passes for 120 yards. His longest completion was a 50-yard pass to Josh Antones in the third quarter. The play set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Williams.
"It's a good victory for us," Hughes said. "I was proud of our kids and they beat a good football team. (Jonesboro head) coach (Larry) Mortonson is doing a good job over there."
Hughes is a Jonesboro alumnus and was head coach there from 1989-93. Mortonson was Hughes' assistant at Lovejoy for several years.
"It's bittersweet," Hughes said. "Jonesboro played very hard tonight and I have a lot of respect for them. I've lined up over with those guys many times."
n Up next: Lovejoy opens its Region 4-AAAAA slate next Friday as the team plays host to Fayette County at Twelve Oaks Stadium. Last year, Lovejoy beat the Tigers 55-7 at Fayette County.
Jonesboro plays host to Houston County for a Region 2-AAAAA game next Saturday at Tara.