It’s been a long time since Jonesboro-Hodge heads into what would normally be the fifth week of the season without a loss. Then again, it’s been even longer since the Tigers have played only one game by the second week of October.
That is the result of the Coronavirus eliminating what would have been the first two games on the Tigers schedule against Winnfield and West Ouachita and Hurricane Delta causing last week’s contest against Loyola College Prep to be cancelled.
Regardless, Caldwell-Peacock Stadium will be the site of a battle between undefeated teams from Class 2A this Friday night when JHHS hosts Rosepine. Both schools come into the contest with 1-0 records with J-H besting Delta Charter 37-8 and Rosepine pounding East Beauregard 46-6 in each team’s only contest played to date.
Game time is set for 7:00 pm and tickets will be available to be purchased beforehand and on game day. It should be noted that per Phase 3 restrictions set forth by the state of Louisiana that only 25% of the stadiums capacity will be allowed to enter but according to JHHS Head Coach Terrance Blankenship that shouldn’t be a deterrent for anyone who wants to come.
“Our stadium has the capacity to sit close to 4000 people which means that we will be able to have close to 1000 fans in the stands,” said Blankenship. “Judging by the attendance we have been averaging over the past several years everyone who wants to come and support us should be able to get in.”
The game is a rematch of a closely contested battle between the two last year that saw home-standing Rosepine take an early two touchdown and hang on for a 30-22 victory in the first ever matchup between the two schools.
Several Eagle players who did damage against the Tigers return this year including running back Grant Ducute who rushed 18 times for 179 and 4 touchdowns against East Beauregard and quarterback Ethan Frey who passed for 172 yards and two scores. Receiver Cole Donahue was the main threat outside catching 4 passes for 119 yards and a score.
The Tigers will counter with what should be a strong offensive attack of their own that will be bolstered by the return of the normal starting offensive line following their absence in the season opener due to being quarantined after they were all exposed to the Coronavirus. Fortunately none came down with the illness. They also have their talented playmakers all in good health for the contest.
Even with a make-shift offensive line running back Brantrel Thompson gained over 100 yards rushing (6-103) against Delta Charter and quarterback Tydre Malone threw for a pair of scores, one each to wide-outs Jamarriyea Lewis and Justin Calahan.
“I am glad to have our big guys up front returning,” said Blankenship. “We are going to need them this week. The young guys who filled in did a decent job of holding their own against Delta Charter but Rosepine is an entirely different challenge.”
Keys to victory:
- Keep Rosepine’s running game in check! The Eagles are good at pounding out yardage and sustaining long drives. This will wear out a thin Tiger defense front.
- Playmakers must make plays! The Tigers have as much talent at the skill positions as anybody but they must perform well.
- Limit mental mistakes! Can’t have untimely penalties, missed reads or being in bad position. Rosepine is well coached and experienced enough to make a team pay for those type of mistakes.
Expect both teams to move the ball. The difference will be which team can cash in their opportunities the best. Calling for the Tigers to give the home fans a victory in a shootout! JHHS 34 Rosepine 30.