The best way to describe Jonesboro-Hodge’s opponent for their third straight home game this Friday night is the next up is loaded with next level talent. Last week the Tigers weren’t able to overcome the challenge presented by Mansfield but that doesn’t compare with the tall task ahead when Class 4A Huntington High of Shreveport comes to town. Game time is set for 7:00 pm.
“This shapes up to be the most difficult opponent we will face on the schedule this year,” said J-H head coach Terrance Blankenship. “They have talent and speed everywhere and a bunch of guys who will end up playing on the next level.”
Currently the Raiders boast four players who have already committed to or have been offered by Division One programs. On the offensive side of the ball is senior quarterback J’rell Joseph, who has committed to Valpariso and junior wide receiver Zyvion Claville, who already has multiple offers from such programs as Virginia, Kansas and Tulane. Defensive backs De’Kelvion Beamon and Erron Bean have also made commitments to Oklahoma State and Louisiana Tech respectively.
Other players who are getting notice as well are running back Demajah Riley and speedy slot receiver Tahj Kochinskey while the defense boasts lineman Mon’kaylon Thomas, linebacker Ed Clark and safeties ZalinThomas and Tyrique Taylor.
“There is no question they are loaded,” continued Blankenship. “We have our work cut out for us.”
Fourth year head coach Steve Dennis has improved Huntington from a two win team in his first year to a .500 mark in the regular season a year ago and a playoff berth. This season the Raiders opened with three straight wins over Benton (27-26), Carroll (23-13) and Loyola College Prep (36-31) before falling 40-22 to Bastrop this past Friday.
Not only has the number of wins increased but the amount of players now wanting to be a part of the program as evidenced by the 30 players who came out in his first year to the size of the current roster which numbers 84 players, which is an all-time high for the program.
“Coach Dennis has done a tremendous job with their program since he got there,” continued Blankenship. “When we first scheduled them they had about as many players as we did. Now they have twice as many.”
Last year the Raiders beat J-H 40-22 in a contest played at Independence Stadium in Shreveport but the loss ended up being a positive for the Tigers. Already down 28-0 after a quarter and a half the Tigers starting quarterback injured his ankle. Enter untested junior varsity QB Tydre Malone and at the half the score was 28-20. Malone stayed behind center the rest of the year that saw J-H win three of their last four and is now an experienced signal caller that has the Tigers sitting at 2-1 on the season.
Keys to victory!
- Must hit home runs! Quick strikes for scores are going to be a must.
- Can’t give any freebies! It is going to be a hard enough to keep them from scoring as it is.
- Pass the gut check! Two-way players are going to have to dig deep to offset Raiders depth.
Prediction: Mansfield manhandled the Tigers last week and Huntington is a much better team. If the Tigers win it would be considered a huge upset. Reality says to just hope J-H can come out of the game in without any injuries for the upcoming district run. Huntington 32 JHHS 18