Tigers beat North Webster 34-32 in two overtime thriller

In a contest that went totally against conventional wisdom, Jonesboro-Hodge won for the fourth time in their first five starts for the first time since 2009 with a thrilling 34-32 victory over Class 3A North Webster. The victory wasn’t decided until the last play of the second overtime when the Tiger defense stopped the Knights just short of the goal line while trying to convert a two-point run that would have tied the game and sent it into a third overtime. It was also in 2009 the last time the Tigers played in an overtime game and 2003 since they won one. It was in 1999 that J-H last played in a double overtime affair which the Tigers also won. 

TWICE AS NICE! With the two teams tied at 20-20, North Webster got the ball first. Three running plays behind their behemoth offensive line allowed for a three yard score to make it 26-20 after the two point conversion failed. Now it was the Tigers turn and things looked bleak as the Tigers were facing a third down from the 13 yard line. Undaunted, Tydre Malone calmly evaded a furious North Webster rush and noticed wideout Devontae Mozee in single coverage in the left corner of the endzone. With deft touch Malone lofted the aerial that was perfectly placed allowing Mozee to use his height advantage and secure the touchdown. A two point conversion would now win it for JH but alas, the Tigers also failed to convert. 

In the second overtime period JHHS had the ball first and quickly ended any fears of not scoring when on the first play Malone connected with Justin Calahan for the ten yard touchdown, which was his second in a row in overtime and third of the game. Malone then found Jay Lewis in the back of the endzone for the all important, two point conversion giving the Tigers a 34-26 lead. 

NO TWO FOR YOU! The Tiger defense dug in forcing a fourth and one. North Webster snuck it over setting up the crucial two point try. Head coach Terrance Blankenship then called time out to talk to his defense. 

“I told them it was time to go home,” laughed Blankenship, who now enjoys the best start to a season in his nine year tenure. 

North Webster tried the same play that they had been having success with but this time the resilient Tiger defense swarmed the back and stuffed the play for no gain. A wild celebration ensued on the soggy field among the Tiger team and the spattering of fans that endured the long trip to Springhill and braved the inclement weather that lasted all night. 

AGAINST THE SCRIPT! The celebration was well deserved as this was one victory that flew against all modicums of conventional wisdom as to how J-H was supposed to have to play to come away with a victory.
1. Tigers would have to strike quick! North Webster was HUGE on the offensive and defensive line and with the field being a quagmire looked to have tremendous advantage against the smaller Tigers. Yet it was the Knights who score on a kickoff return and a one play drive, while the Tigers methodically moved down the field for their scores. 

2. Tiger would need to play almost perfect! That certainly wasn’t the case. The Tigers had four turnovers and committed nine penalties. This doesn’t even start to minimize the number of times J-H would take large losses that left them with 25 and 30 yards to go for a first down, but somehow the Tigers would manage to survive. 

3. J-H would not be able to stop North Webster’s rushing attack! Thirty-six times the Knights pounded at the Tiger defense. The result was for only 98 yards or only about 2.75 yards per carry. Take away the 34 and 17 yard touchdown runs and the Tigers allowed only 36 yards in 34 attempts. 

4. Tigers wouldn’t be able to throw against the Knight defense! Granted North Webster kept Malone on the run all night long with their furious blitzing scheme. Still Malone completed 20 of 30 attempts for 245 yards and three scores. All which are among top five results in Tiger history including the 20 completions being a new all time mark. 

5. Tigers would wear down! North Webster dressed out 64 players and ahd 18 seniors. They averaged nealry 325 lbs across the offensive line and close to 300 on the defensive front. J-H played only about 20 all night but midway through the game the Tigers started to dominate the line even to the point that in the second half North Webster went to a smaller and qucker front to try and offset the Tigers strength and speed. 

TOTAL TEAM VICTORY! Every single phase of the team was important to the victory. The offensive and defensive lines turned in by far the best performance seen in years and against one of the more quality lines they will face. The offense played admirably in the slop, surprisingly managing time consuming drives that resulted in points and gave the Tiger defense much needed rest. 

STOP RIGHT HERE! Nineteen times North Webster faced a third down and short situation. They only converted three times. Eight times the Knights went for it on fourth down, including in three straight drives where they were deep in Tiger terrritory. How many times did they convert to keep the drive alive? NONE! NADA! ZILCH! ZERO! NARY A TIME! 

COACHING CORNER! Every coach will tell you that a game is won or lost on the field. That may be true but there is no doubt that this past Friday the braintrust of the Tigers made some brilliant calls that put the Tigers in great position to win. 

1.  Hello Hambone! With J-H on the North Webster one year line after a scoreless first quarter the Tigers came to the line. Only this time Catavious “Hambone” Waters and his 290 lb frame didn’t go to the line as usua. Instead he stayed in the backfield and a few seconds later Waters bulled his way into the endzone with four Knights hanging all over him.

2.  “Big Heavy” Package! It worked once, why not again, right? With the Tigers once again sniffing the goal line Blankenship once again lined Waters up in the backfield. This time though Malone kept the ball and seemd to be stood up at the line. Waters then rammed into the pile up along with 390 lb Austin Knotts moving the pile of humanity forward and Malone across the goal line.

3. How did you know? Perhaps the best call of the night came with North Webster ahead 13-6 and threatening to go up two scores. Facing a fourth and one at the Tigers 19 yards line it seemed certain that the Knights would just try and plow their way to a first down. Instead the quarterback faked the run and sprinted out to his right. NOT SO FAST my friend.  JHHS defensive coordinator seemed to be one step ahead of the North Webster braintrust all night and was most certainly ready this time. Before the QB could finish his face and turn to sprint out he was met by not one, not two, but three Tigers who planted him for a seven yard loss. 

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 1OT 2OT Final
JHHS (4-1) 0 6 8 6 6 8 34
NWHS (2-3) 0 13 0 7 6 6 32

JHHS Individual Offensive Statistics:

Passing: Tydre Malone 20-23-254, 3 TD’s, 3 INT
Rushing: Brantrell Thompson 17-19; Malone 17-14, 1TD, Cartavious Waters 1-2, 1TD
Receiving: Justin Calahan 7-73, 2 TD’s, Devontae Mozee 6-104, 1TD, Jay Lewis 4-44; Thompson 2-16
Punting: Devontae Mozee 3-39.7 avg. , long 45

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