Homecoming always carries a nostalgic feeling as former graduates and alumni return to take part in the yearly celebration. This year the annual event will take on an additional meaning for the Jonesboro-Hodge football team as JHHS graduate and former Tiger head coach, Shannon Brown, has joined the coaching staff.
There are not many who have done more for their alma mater than Brown. As an athlete he was an instrumental part of the “three peat” years on the football field and an outstanding baseball player. After getting his degree from Louisiana Tech he became first an assistant and then the youngest head football coach and athletic director in JHHS history, a position he held for eight years (2000-2005)(2010-11) compiling a 41-38 record and winning two district championships. From there Brown left to become a coach in multiple sports, including head football coach, at Cedar Creek High School before moving into administration. Now he is coming home.
Brown began duties as a Biology teacher and as an assistant on the JHHS coaching staff on Monday. JHHS head football coach Terrance Blankenship, who was a teammate in school and worked under Brown as an assistant was ecstatic over the good fortune.
“It isn’t every day that you are able to add a quality coach to your staff during mid-season,” beamed Blankenship. “Especially someone who has the knowledge and teaching ability that Coach Brown will bring. This is a great day for Jonesboro-Hodge.”
Tigers eager to begin “second season”
Coming off the best pre-district performance since 2005, the Jonesboro-Hodge Tigers will take their impressive 6-1 record into the 2021 Homecoming game against D’Arbonne Woods. The Friday night contest that is slated to begin at 7:00pm at Caldwell-Peacock stadium will be the district 1-2A opener for both teams.
The contest culminates a full day of activities beginning with the Homecoming Assembly in the boys gymnasium where the Queen and King will be presented to the student body. At 1:00pm the Homecoming Parade will begin followed by an afternoon of tailgating by alumni. Thirty minutes prior to the game the Queen and her cout along with escorts and family members will be introduced to the crowd followed by the game. While the Tigers are eagerly looking forward to embarking on their 1-2A schedule, head coach Terrance Blankenship is eager to simply get this game behind his team.
“For a coach there is not a game each year that causes as much worry as Homecoming,” said Blankenship. “There are so many distractions that can cause a player to lose their focus that it is very difficult to keep them on point.”
This week’s opponent – D’Arbonne Woods: At 4-2 on the year the Farmerville based school is enjoying their best season start in their seven years of LHSAA competition. After dropping their first two games in close battles, the Timberwolves have won four in a row for the first time ever. The four victories equal the amount of games won in the last three years combined. Leading the renaissance is Tommy Tharp, who is in his first year at D’Arbonne Woods after a ten year career at Mangham. It was there the 32 year, veteran coach won three district championships and finished as state runner-up for three consecutive years.
Unique offensive scheme: The Timberwolves will utilize a unique offensive scheme based on misdirection and deception. At Mangham it became known as the “Dragon Wing” as in it’s base form the offense lines up in a Wing-T formation. What makes Tharp’s version unique is that in most sets the scheme incorporates the shotgun and spread formation. It has proven to be very effective as it keeps defenses guessing as to who will handle the ball as it is not unusual for several different players to take a direct snap.
Players to watch for: Carlos Alejo is the quarterback of the offense but Gavin Rawls and Regan Walker will also receive snaps. Alden Auger has led the team in touches from both the backfield and as a wideout. Addtional contributors are Hayden Gray and Cameron Jackson.
Series history: Jonesboro-Hodge is looking for their fifth straight win in the series that began with a 21-20 Tiger victory in 2015, which marked the very first varsity game in D’Arbonne Woods history. Since then the Tigers have had no problem with the Timberwolves, especially the last two years that has seen JHHS win 66-6 in the 2019 Homecoming contest and 36-0 last year.
JHHS season stats to date: Jonesboro-Hodge has scored 223 points while giving up 126 in the six games of actual competition. That computes to a 37.16 – 21.0 points per game average. Individual statistical leaders are:
Passing: Tydre Malone (76-126-1074, 13 TD’s, 5 INT’s)
Rushing: Brantrel Thompson (65-372, 4 TD’s), Malone (55-165, 5TD’s)
Receiving: Devontae Mozee (17-370, 8 TD’s), Jay Lewis (19-316, 1 TD), Justin Calahan (18-188, 2 TD’s)
Offensive Touchdowns: Devontae Mozee – 8, Tydre Malone – 5, Brantrel Thompson – 4, Justin Calahan – 2
Tackles: Xavier Atkins – 110, Peyton Smith – 55, Javeon Andrews – 45, Cartavious Waters – 32
Solo Stops: Xavier Atkins – 90, Peyton Smith – 38, Javeon Andrews – 36
Sacks: Xavier Atkins – 6, Javeon Andrews – 5
Tackles for loss: Xavier Atkins – 14, Javeon Andrews – 10
Interceptions: Devontae Mozee – 3, Xavier Atkins – 1, Jay Lewis – 1, Justin Calahan -1
Forced Fumbles: Javeon Andrews – 4, Peyton Smith – 2, Xavier Atkins – 1, Jay Lewis – 1, Ed Drayton – 1
Fumbles Recovered: Xavier Atkins – 2, Javeon Andrews – 2, Devontae Mozee – 1, Ed Drayton – 1
Defensive Touchdowns: Devontae Mozee – 3, Xavier Atkins – 1, Justin Calahan – 1
Kick Return TD’s – Brantrel Thompson – 1 (77 yards)
Punt Return TD’s – Devontae Mozee – 1 (73 yards)
PAT conversions: Chance Leonard – 4