The first thing that comes to mind when you look at the 43 man roster of the 101st edition of Jonesboro-Hodge football is that the Tigers are young. Most of the time that would cause concern but in this case it is not such a bad thing as the youthful Tigers are much more experienced than those normally their age.
Case in point is the offensive backfield where two juniors and a sophomore will help the Tigers weather any defensive storms thrown at them. Junior Tydre Malone is the rain maker and returns off a stellar sophomore campaign where in just six games at the helm threw for 871 yards and 10 scores.
The thunder of the group is Sophomore Lajavion Nichols, who at 6’0”, 200 pounds was the power in the Tiger rushing attack (96-430) last year showing the ability to blast his way through the line even when there was no open space. Speedy Brantrel Thompson (42-232) is a lightning bolt that is a threat to score from anywhere on the field.
The leading receivers from a year ago is junior Justin Calahan (18-250)and Senior Conelius Boston (9-72) who are going to be counted on heavily to help make up the nearly 2000 yards in receiving that departed from a year ago.
Others expected to make contributions are Javious Holden, Chase Leonard, Davion McGuire, JaMarriyea Lewis, Datre’vien Bowie, Devontae Mozee, Savantez Phillips, Raynold Bolds, Omarrion Jackson, Manuel Hernandez and Amar Williams.
At tight end is Senior Connor Webb (6’2”, 205) and Junior Javeon Andrews (6’4”, 225) who bring good size and athletic ability. Sophomore’s Dominick Strickland and Ed’Tavious Drayton are also expected to be in the mix.
Over one third (18) of the 43 man roster is made up of offensive and defensive linemen that have lots of beef but is relatively short on experience. Leading the way is behemoth Skylar Livingston (6’2”, 330) who already has attracted college attention. Senior Phillip Beard (6’0”, 205) is a returning all-district performer as well as (6’1” 225) Chase Bryant.
Sophomore Peyton Smith (6’2”, 235), Senior Quiyontae Henderson, are also expected to contribute heavily along with Juniors LaVontae Burks (5/10”, 190) Aiden Price (5’11” 220) and Terry Williams (6’0” 200). Others that are looking to be in the rotation are sophomores Chaunasy Bryant, Calen Jones, Josh Tatum, Austin Knotts, Cartavious Waters and Freshmen Jayden Qualls, Quirese Howard, Demerrius Jones and Braylon Edwards.
As the case in most small schools the majority of offensive players will also be doubling up on defense where the Tigers are going to have to replace eight of the top twelve leading tacklers from the 2019-20 campaign.
Sophomore LaJavion Nichols brings back the most tackles with 56 from a year ago followed by 33 from Connor Webb. Jamarriyea Lewis, Davion McGuire, Peyton Smith, Skylar Levingston, and Javious Holden also registered double digits in tackles.
The coaching staff is led by Terrance Blankenship who will be leading the charge for the eighth consecutive season. Assistants are Carlos Hicks, Anthony Anderson, Kris Cash, Justin Durbin, Robert Hunter and Ethan Roberts.
For a complete listing of the 2020-21 Jonesboro-Hodge roster see below.