“Road to Dome” takes unexpected path for Tigers

Jonesboro-Hodge knew that after their second round victory over Mangham that they would be making a trip to south Louisiana for their quarterfinal matchup. They just didn’t expect to be going where they are. The Tigers “Road to the Dome” got extended a little when #15 Franklin upset #2 Loreauville in a battle between fellow district 7-2A members.

On paper the matchup seemingly puts the Tigers in a favorable position, despite having to travel about as far south as can be done before reaching the Gulf of Mexico. JHHS head coach Terrance Blankenship knows his squad has their work cut out for them though if they can advance to their first semi-final appearance since 1990. 

“Their win over Loreauville may have been viewed as an upset but this team is very good and as dangerous as any stll playing,” said Blankenship. “Their quarterback is easily the best athlete we have seen this year.”

Opponent overview: Franklin sports a 7-3 record after finishing in third place in district 7-2A. Statistically the Hornets average scoring 34.6 point per game while giving up 20.6 points. After a 1-2 start to open the season where they lost 19-12 to Patterson and 47-42 to Loreauville 47-42 in the first district game of the year to fall to 1-2, Franklin has since won six of their last seven. This includes an opening round, 54-7 victory over D’Arbonne Woods Charter, who gave JHHS a district 1-2A loss, and the second round revenge over the #2 seed in Class AA.  Their only loss during that span was to Ascension Episcopal 66-38, who finished second in district 7-2A play behind Loreauville and was a Divison III quarterfinalist. 

Formidable foes: To give an idea of the talent that Franklin quarterback Zylan Perry possesses and how important he is to their team, you only have to look at the stats he compiled in the loss to Ascension Episcopal. Perry carried 17 times for 209 yards with two TDs, completed 10 of 19 passes for 227 yards and two scores, ran for a 2-point conversion, threw for two more, and scored on a 50-yard interception return.

“I can’t say enough about how good No. 3 is,” AEHS coach Matt Desormeaux said of Perry. “He’s a special player. I don’t know how many missed tackles we had on him. He made things happen.”

As a junior, Perry accounted for over 2400 all purpose yards and 25 touchdowns on his way to 1st team 7-2A status. Sporting elite 4.44 speed in the 40 yard dash, the versatile athlete, who is also an all-stater in track, is over 2000 all purpose yards again this year.

Others to watch for is running back Zamarrion Webber and wide receiver Jayshaun Johnson who have demonstrated game breaking ability all season as well. Dejuan Rudolph (5’11”, 271 lbs.); Tayshaun Johnson (6’0″, 225 lbs.) and Michael Moses (5’9″, 264 lbs.), anchors a strong line upfront on both sides of the ball. 

Franklin Faults: One disadvantage Franklin has is that there are only 32 players on the roster of which 12 are Freshman. As result just like the Tigers round one opponent Oakdale, virtually all eleven starters play both ways. This has proven a difficult challenge against teams that can move the ball up and down the field. Another problem Franklin has faced this year has been playing against teams that have good passing attacks. This plays right up the Tigers alley.

Keys to victory:

(1) Stop Perry from having special performance. The first and foremost is also the most obvious. JHHS must limit the Franklin quarterback to minimum production. A great athlete is hardly ever totally stopped you just hope to slow them down. 

(2) Defense must “stay in their lane.” It will be imperative for the Tigers defense, especially the guys up front to maintain their “lane integrity” and force play back to the middle of the field. Franklin has several players with the ability to take it to the house once they get to the outside. 

(3) Must make opportunities count. The Tigers got by with missing early opportunities to score in the first two playoff games. The deeper you get the less chances luck like that will hold out. JHHS should have many chances against Franklin. How well they make them count will play a big factor in moving on. 

How to get there: While it is a long way down there, the roughly 3 1/2 hours of driving time that Google Maps shows, looks to be actually done with ease. After driving to Alexandria on Hwy 167 South, you get on Interstate 49 south and basically stay there the whole way as once in Lafayette, I-49 turns into Hwy 90, which takes you all the way to Franklin.

Driving instructions:

Hwy 167 South to Alexandria
Hwy I-49 South to Lafayette
Hwy 90 East to Franklin
Turn left onto LA 3211 / Northwest Blvd. (go 1.8 miles)
Turn right onto Main St. (go 0.9 miles)
Turn left onto Cynthia St.
Arrival address is 1401 Cynthia St. 

Spectator bus chartered: Spangler Tours has confirmed a spectator bus will be available for fan transport to Franklin, La for the JHHS football game this Friday! If you’re interested, we have to move fast as it is a 56 passenger bus and your seat will be confirmed with payment on a first come, first serve basis. Payment of $45.00 per person must accompany reservation which will run thru Thursday, Nov 25. To make payment use: Cashapp $LatonyaAustinMoss, instant message Latonya Austin Moss on Facebook or bring cash.

Calling on all businesses! In support of JHHS Tiger Football team, all businesses are asked to express their support this week by decorating their store front in red, blue, and white.

Send Tigers South in Style! The Tigers will be heading to Franklin, La on Friday, Nov 26 @ 11am. The community is asked to join together to see them off in style. A lineup of supporters will take place from the intersection of Hwy 167 and Hwy 4 and continue along Hwy 167 South toward the Jackson Parish line. Bring your posters & balloons!!!!
GO TIGERS! 

 


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