CARLINVILLE — Jacob Dixon put his stamp on Carlinville’s lopsided victory over Roxana in a Class 3A opening-round playoff football game Friday.
The Shells were left mostly with postage due in a stinging 52-12 season-ending setback. Dixon, a 170-pound junior running back, carried the mail all over the Carlinville High School field.
He figured in five touchdowns as 8-2 Carlinville advanced to the second around against the winner of Saturday’s St. Joe-Ogden/Fairfield game. Roxana finished 7-3 and saw a seven-game winning streak vanish.
Cavaliers’ coach Chad Easterday praised Dixon’s virtuoso performance.
“He had a great game and he seems to keep having those kinds of games,” Easterday said.
Roxana coach Pat Keith added, “He did some nice things and made some big plays.”
Dixon scored on running plays of 1, 1 and 9 yards. He also returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown and then pitched a 72-yard TD on an option pass to Brady Jamieson. Overall, Dixon rushed 21 times for 154 yards. He has tallied 33 touchdowns in 10 games.
Carlinville quarterback Jarret Easterday, a freshman and the coach’s son, complemented him nicely. Easterday completed 7 of 9 passes for 173 yards and two TDs as the Cavaliers’ offense percolated. Carlinville amassed more than 400 yards, including 245 passing.
“He did a nice job tonight in picking his spots,” coach Easterday said of Jarrett. “I think the pace of the game, with our no-huddle offense, gave them fits.”
What nagged the Shells the most were their own mistakes. They made five turnovers, including four fumbles. Those mistakes thwarted their opportunities and enhanced the Cavies’ chances.
“Those turnovers really hurt us and then they (Cavaliers) got some big plays like they did the first time we played them,” Keith said. Carlinville prevailed 48-24 in the season opener back on Aug. 28 in Roxana.
Keith noted, “We couldn’t respond to their big plays and they did some things that gave us fits. Their big plays and our turnovers were a recipe for disaster.”
Blake Vandiver tried to get the Shells pointed in the right direction. He rushed 13 times for 108 yards and scored on runs of 3 and 13 yards. His 13-yard score, coming with 1:22 remaining in the half, sliced the Cavaliers’ advantage to 24-12. Carlinville led 21-0 at one point.
However, Dixon’s 54-yard sprint after Vandiver’s second TD set up Easterday’s 7-yard scoring strike with Jamieson with 39.4 seconds to play in the half.
Then Dixon picked off an errant Zach Golenor pass and rambled 58 yards for a touchdown with 1.1 seconds remaining in the half. Suddenly, the Cavaliers led 38-12 and the Shells were in deep trouble after allowing two touchdowns in 38 seconds.
Dixon’s second 1-yard touchdown run with 8:25 remaining in the third quarter and his scoring aerial to Jamieson midway through it officially turned it into a rout. The Cavies scored 28 unanswered points to put the finishing touches on their win.
“We were able to force five turnovers and capitalize on them,” coach Easterday said. “That swung the momentum our way. And maybe this was our best game offensively all season.”
While Carlinville won its sixth successive game, Roxana sustained its first loss since Sept. 4. The 52 points marked the most the Shells allowed in 10 games.
“Our seniors played hard and we played with class,” Keith said, reflecting on the end of the season and losing 13 seniors to graduation. “We’ve gone to playoffs in back-to-back years and I hope that’s now an expectation and not a rarity.
“It was a great season for our kids.”
CLASS 4A PLAYOFFS
CARLINVILLE 52, ROXANA 12
Roxana 0 12 0 0 — 12
Carlinville 21 17 14 0 — 52
C – Jacob Dixon 9 run (Hayden Thompson kick), 6:46
C – Dixon 1 run (Thompson kick), 4:24
C – Konnor Emmons 81 pass from Jarret Easterday (Thompson kick), :16.8
R – Blake Vandiver 3 run (run failed), 7:34
C – FG Thompson 21, 4:46
R – Vandiver 13 run (run failed), 1:22
C – Jamieson 7 pass from Easterday (Thompson kick), :39.4
C –Dixon 58 run with interception (Thompson kick), :1.1
C – Dixon 1 run (Thompson kick), 8:25
C – Jamieson 72 pass from Dixon (Thompson kick), 6:04