Border Battle! Tigers travel to Cedar Creek in attempt to win sixth straight

Jonesboro-Hodge will hit the road for the second straight week, but instead of making the longest trip of the year like last week, this Friday the Tigers won’t hardly even have time to get settled before it will be time to get off the bus. Where they will depart will be at Cedar Creek High School in Ruston for a contest that wasn’t originally on the schedule but added after the season started. 

It will mark the second time this season the two will square off. The first time the pair of neighboring parish teams lined up against each other was in a pre-season scrimmage the week before the Tigers played in the “Bayou Jamb” to open the season.Tiger head coach Terrance Blankenship is hoping his team will fare better this time around. 

“They pushed us all over the field back in September,” said Blankenship. “I hope we give a better accounting of ourselves this time around.”

Not only does he hopethe Tigers will play better than before, he expects them to. 

“I think we have come along ways as a team since the beginning of the season,” reflected Blankenship. “We played really well last week and if we continue to grow as we have been doing, we will have a good shot at coming home with a win.” 

JHHS up for “Team of the Week” in KNOE-TV Poll: By virtue of their dominating victory over Bunkie the Tigers are one of four areas teams up for “Team of the Week” honors. To vote simply go to knoe.com and scroll down until you see the poll. The other teams in the poll is Madison, Carroll and Jena. In the infamous words of Huey Long – VOTE EARLY AND VOTE OFTEN. Actually you can vote as many times as you want, you simply have exit and enter site each ntime. 

Series history: The Tigers will be looking to beat Cedar Creek for the fourth time out of the nine games the two will have played in the series that began in 2007 and was played each year until 2014. The record shows JHHS lost to the Cougars in the first game played between the two, won two straight and then dropped the next four before winning 18-15 to give Blankenship a 1-1 record personally against the Cougars.

Blankenship is also looking to even the slate at 1-1 against Cougar head coach Matt Middleton, who is in his first year in Ruston after coming over from West Ouachita. The Middleton led Chiefs beat J-H in 2019 and was supposed to play them again last year but wasn’t able to due to Covid complications. The Tigers and West Ouachita played this year instead, which was the game that springboarded J-H to the current streak they are on of five straight victories. 

A win would equal the six game victory string that was put together in 2017 when the Tigers were playing in Class A and mark the first time since 2004 they won six straight as a Class AA school. You have to go back all the way to 1993 to find the last time the Tigers started a season 6-1.

Formidable Foe: The Cougars currently stand at 3-2 on the year with all five games being against District 2-1A opponents. The two losses have been to St. Frederick (4-1)  by a narrow 7-6 margin in the season opener and 33-22 to Ouachita Christian, who is 5-0 on the year and listed at #2 in the power rankings for Division IV an the combined Class A (select/non-select) power rankings. Their victories have been against Delhi 38-6, River Oaks 54-7 and Sicily Island 51-6, who have a combined 3-14 record. Cedar Creek has scored 171 points on the year against having given up 59. That equates to a healthy points per game average of 34.25 for to 11.8 against. 

Small but well schooled: The Tigers will have a size advantage up front but the Cougars are well schooled in blocking schemes and have a heady quarterback in Coach Middleton’s son, Caden. Additonal players to watch for up front is Aj Thomas who checks in at 6’4″ 220 lbs and Bryce Rushing at 6’4″ 240 lbs. 

Tigers spreading the wealth: Each week it seems the Tigers have someone new step up to steal the limelight. This past week it was senior wideout/defensive back Justin Calahan who led the Tigers in receiving with 3 catches for 64 yards and in touchdowns with two. It should have been three but his 73 yard punt return was called back. Two new faces made their presence felt in 6′ 5″ wideout Zion Gray, who just joined the team two weeks ago and sophomore Chance Leonard, who in his first action of the year ran the ball 10 times for 66 yards and a score. 

Keeping on keeping on: Xavier Atkins continued his tremendous play by upping his state leading total to 89 tackles and 75 solo stops, while also adding a 35 yard interception return for a score. Devontae Mozee also ran one back for a TD, the third time this year he has done so and added an offensive TD to boot to give him 11 total TD’s on the year. As a team the Tigers have scored 195 points and given up 100 in their five games that were actually played for a per game average of 39 points per game for and 20 points against. 

How to get there: The drive shows to be only 24 miles. Simply go up Hwy. 167 and turn right on Kentucky Avenue (Just past the Wendy’s and Super One). Stay on Kentucky  for just short of a mile and take a left onto Cedar Creek Road. Three tenths of a mile later take a right on Cedar Creek Drive and you are there.  Address is 2400 Cedar Creek Drive, Ruston, LA.

 


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