Judging by the records it would seem Jonesboro-Hodge will be in great shape to win their third straight game to open the season. J-H comes into the contest with a 2-0 mark following a thrilling 42-41 victory over Rosepine. Mansfield is 0-2 and hasn’t come close to winning a game. Yet according to JHHS head coach Terrance Blankenship the second straight game at Caldwell-Peacock Stadium will be the Tigers biggest test to date. Game time is set for 7:00 pm
“Don’t let their record fool you,” warned Blankenship. “Mansfield is a very dangerous club with speed everywhere. A whole lot of teams would be 0-2 after starting the season against Red River and Minden.”
The Tigers will face a team that has several playmakers. Junior Monquavirus Wells is the leading rusher with 151 yards in two contests. Senior scatback Marcus Bryant, who only goes 5’6” and 160 lbs. is a threat to break it from anywhere but their main thrust is through the air.
“They have three seniors who can hurt you on the outside,” said Blankenship. “Our defensive backs are going to have their work cut out for them.”
The “tres amigos” that Blankenship is referring to is 6’3” Joshua Ford who is averaging 18 yards a reception, Adrian Green who caught six passes in the season opener against Red River and cat quick Marvin Garrett who is also a threat to run the ball on reverses. Quarterbacking Mansfield is Sophomore DeKeldrick Thomas who saw his first action of the year two weeks ago against Minden where he threw for 97 yards and rushed for 80 more.
JHHS will attempt to gain revenge from a year ago for the second straight week with an offensive attack that looks to be hitting on all cylinders. Brantrell Thompson is having a breakout year having gained 308 yards and scoring four touchdowns in two games to lead the rushing attack. Junior QB Tydre Malone has passed for a pair of scores in each of the contests and receiver Justin Calahan has close to 200 yards in receiving.
Blankenship knows the contest is like trying to climb another rung higher on the ladder as Mansfield will be the first school from a higher classification the Tigers have faced this year. They will also be the biggest with a front line averaging close to 300 pounds.
“We started with a 1A team, last week played a 2A team and now play a 3A team,” reflected Blankenship. “Also they will have the biggest team up front we have seen so far. They have four or five that go over 300 pounds.”
Keys to victory!
- Come out ready to play! For the second week in a row the Tigers have bumbled, fumbled and stumbled their way through the first quarter. That has got to stop.
- Hang tough up front! The Tiger line has to play Mansfield’s “big boys” even. If not the Wolverines depth will wear down the Tigers.
- Playmakers must make plays! JH has as many playmakers as anybody. They have to perform.
- Ride the wave! JH is on a tremendous high following the stirring win last week. Hopefully they can bring that momentum into this week.
This isn’t a “homer” pick. JH should be able to capitalize off the confidence and resilience they showed last week. Mansfield on the other hand hasn’t tasted success so a quick lead by the Tigers could crush their spirit. Look for J-H to move to newly charted territory and move to 3-0 in a close one.
JHHS 26 Mansfield 20