The good news was that all was not lost. The goal of the Jonesboro-Hodge Tigers had of winning the district 1-2A championship is still within reach. The bad news is that now the away game against North Caddo this Friday is a must win and the Tigers are still going to be in need of a little help.
The contest that was believed by virtually everyone who follows high school football would be the deciding factor in who wins district 1-2A this year takes place at 7:00pm in Vivian. North Caddo will welcome the Tigers sporting a 6-1 overall record and 1-0 mark in district play. The Tigers come in at 6-2 and a surprisingly 0-1 mark after beinig upset by upstart D’Arbonne Woods last week. For all intensive purposes it still is the “defacto district title game.” A Tiger win squares both North Caddo and JHHS at 1-1. Even if North Caddo loses to J-H they will still be a heavy favorite to beat D’Arbonne Woods in the regualr season finale, while it is almost a given the Tigers would beat hapless Lakeside. If all the cards fall into place then JHHS, DWC and North Caddo would all finish with a 2-1 record in district play with the final positioning going according to tie breaker procedures.
Regardless of how the district race ends up the Friday night tilt carries even more weight when considering playoff positioning. This is determined solely on a teams “Power Point” rankings which currently finds JHHS sitting in 8th place and North Caddo controlling the 5th spot.
A JHHS victory would certainly improve their positioning with the possibility of moving as high as #6 which would be a premier spot as it would mean the Tigers would avoid playing one of the top team in the state in the Quarterfinals.
“We have been no where close to playing like we are capable the last couple of weeks,” said Tiger head coach Terrance Blankenship. “I am expecting us to be more focused this Friday as the guys know what is at stake.”
Similar attacks! One reason that gives Blankenship encouragement is that North Caddo’s offensive attack is nothing like what has proven to give the Tigers trouble this season. They are not a “smash mouth” team like Winnfield, North Webster, Cedar Creek and DWC but prefers to play a more wide open scheme much like the Tigers incorporate.
“”They are a lot like us as they have a lot of speed and can strike quick” said Blankenship. “While North Caddo will have the most talent on the field of any team we have faced this year we are more suited defensively for their style of attack.”
Series History! Blankenship is well versed in the North Caddo attack run by John Kavanaugh.as this willbe the seventh time in his nine year tenure he has faced the Titans. Currently the series between the two head coaches leans 4-2 to Kavanaugh including the last four straight, which have given North Caddo a 7-4 advantage in all time meetings that date back to 1939 when the school was known as Vivian High.
Blue Chipper Watch! It is expected that there will be several college scouts on hand as the game features two of the states leaders in their respective categories. North Caddo features junior, Omarion Miller who is a verbal commitment to LSU and the #2 rated wide receiver in the state in the Class of 2023. Miller, who is the second leading receiver in the state with 974 yards and 13 TD’s according to MaxPreps.com, has also received offers from Miami, Ole Miss and West Virginia along with a number of smaller schools. TheTigers counter with Sophomore linebacker Xavier Atkins who leads the state with 131 total tackles for an 18.7 tacklets per game average. Atkins also leads the state with 106 solo tackles,which is an incredible 41 more than the next closest competitor.
How to get there! Hopefully Tiger fans will have a strong presence on hand to show support. It is a long trip though, one that Google Maps estimates to be two hours long. The good news is that once you get to Arcadia and head west you will be traveling on an interstate basically the whole way. until you get close to Vivian.
Directions to North Caddo High School:
Hwy 147 to Arcadia
West on 1-20
Take exit 26 for I-220 bypass
Take exit 6 for I-49 north
Take exit 231 to LA-170 west
After roughly seven miles turn left onto Camp Road
Go 0.2 miles and turn left on Airport Drive
Look for school on left – address is 201 Airport Road