Welcome to LHSAA prep football, Covid-19 style. With the first two games of the season being cancelled the schedule took some serious revamping. As result this Friday night’s contest against North Caddo takes on double duties as Homecoming and Senior Night will both be celebrated.
That’s not to minimize an even more importance to the contest which is the winner will be basically the de-facto district 1-2A champion. This is the result of both JHHS and North Caddo taking resounding shutout victories in the season opener of the four team district race with the Tigers dominating D’Arbonne Woods 36-0 and North Caddo skunking Lakeside by a 42-0 margin.
Not a normal Homecoming! Anytime a high school head football coach has the opportunity they always try to schedule what looks like their easiest opponent for Homecoming. This is because of the always troubling distractions that are associated with the event. Float preparations, parades, school assemblies, tailgating crowds and the fact that normally classes are let out early always causes game focus problems. If there is a silver lining in this year’s unusual season for the Tiger staff is they won’t have to deal with most of these distractions as there will be no parade or tailgating behind the south endzone.
“Naturally I am disappointed that we won’t get to celebrate Homecoming like we normally do this year,” said Blankenship. “With the importance of this game though and the fact that the winner of this game will have a leg up on the district title I can’t say I am glad our guys won’t have as many distractions.”
Senior Night! Eight Tigers will take the field for their final regular season at Caldwell-Peacock stadium. Being honored before the game will be Cornelius Boston, Davion McGuire, Connor Webb, Datravien Bowie, Quiyontae Henderson, Phillip Beard, Chase Bryant and Skylar Levingston. During their tenure JHHS has compiled a 22-20 overall record that included two winning seasons (going on a third), four playoff appearances and three district runner-up finishes.
For all the marbles! For all accounts the district 1-2A title will be decided this Friday night. It is hard to imagine either JHHS losing to Lakeside or North Caddo falling to D’Arbonne Woods in next week’s games after the ways the action unfolded last week.
Stop the skid! Jonesboro-Hodge leads the all-time series against North Caddo/Vivian 7-6 but has dropped the last three contests including last year’s 34-28 barn burner that gave the Rebels the district 1-2A title. The losses dropped Blankenship’s record in the series to 2-3 after leading the Tigers to victories in his first two contests.
Formidable foe! North Caddo enters the contest with a 3-3 record after beating Class A St.Mary’s of Natchitoches 36-3 in the season opener before dropping the next three against strong competition. Class 3A Green Oaks started the slide 32-12 followed by Class 2A power Mangham winning a 53-34 shootout and Homer surprisingly taking a 20-18 victory. This was followed by a 20-16 victory over Class 3A Bolton of Alexandria and the district 1-2A opening 42-0 whitewash of Lakeside.
“North Caddo has always been a tough matchup for us and we are catching them while they are playing their best ball of the season,” said Blankenship. “It is going to take a good effort on our part to win this one but I am expecting our guys to be ready for the challenge.”
Players to watch! North Caddo’s wildcat offensive set has primarily featured a pair of players behind center that has performed admirably this year. Junior Zion King (#2) lead the aerial attack with 21 completions in 37 attempts for 354 yards and 6 TD’s while rushing for 413 more with a pair of touchdowns. King is also a special teams weapon with a 34.4 yard per punt average.
Senior Charzay Morris (#11) also lines up at QB when not at tailback and has passed for 267 yards and 4 scores while also rushing for a team leading 535 yards on 74 totes for a 7.2 yards per carry average and 5 TDs. Tailback LJ Dixon (#1) has added 271 yards on 31 carries for an 8.7 yards per carry average that included a 95 yarder for a score and Slotback KJ Black (#6) has averaged 16.1 yards per carry while reeling in 15 passes for 213 yards and four scores. The leading receiver is Omarion Miller (#4) with 16 receptions for 438 yards and six scores.
JHHS weapons! The Tigers bring explosive threats to the contest as well, especially in the passing game where a bevy of receivers have shown game breaking ability. Tydre Malone leads the aerial attack with 659 yards on 37 completions in 74 attempts and 8 touchdowns while adding 104 yards on the ground.
LaJavion Nichols leads the rushing attack with 313 yards on 39 carries and 4 scores while Justin Calahan who also has two special teams scores including a school record 95 yard punt return lead the receivers with 11 catches for 185 yards and 4 TD’s. Close behind is JaMarriyea Lewis with 5 receptions for 153 yards for a 30.60 average and DaTrevien Bowie with 5 catches for 128 yards. Devontae Mozee has added four catches for 89 yards and 3 TD’s.
Keys to victory!
- Tame the Wildcat! North Caddo enters with a 27 point per game average. J-H must keep the Rebels in check.
- Eliminate silly miscues! J-H was able to overcome 17 penalties against D’Arbonne Woods. A similar showing will spell defeat against a much stronger North Caddo team.
- Not be distracted! Homecoming and Senior Night during the same game? Tigers must play with best focus of the season in the most important game of the year.
Prediction: The challenge was hard enough without all the outside activities taking place. Last years contest on North Caddo’s Senior Night was a thrilling 34-28 barnburner. Expect more of the same this year with both teams lighting it up. Look for Tigers to snap the three game skid against the Rebels and give Homecoming court and seniors a win.
JHHS 36 North Caddo 34