With several new faces in new places the JHHS coaching staff knew there would be growing pains felt at the 2022 Spring Scrimmage held at St. Frederick’s High School in Monroe on Friday. They also knew that with only eight days of practice before going against host St. Fred’s and Class 5A West Ouachita that mistakes would be made. To sum it up, expectations of playing weel weren’t very high.
They came away pleasantly surprised.
“We made some mistakes but that is to be expected given that we had less than two weeks of practice, we aren’t close to being in football shape and we have several guys playing for the first time,” said JHHS head coach Terrance Blankenship. “Overall, I thought we did a good job.”
The controlled scrimmage pitted the first team offense went for one school against the second team defense from another on one side of the field and a school’s first team defense went against a second team offense on the other. Only six plays were run before teams rotated.
“It was hard to get any consistency going with the way things were set up,” added Blankenship, who was primarily working with the offense. “I thought our offensive line and running backs did a good job. We don’t have the home run hitters we had last year but we showed we can move the ball.”
Another area Blankenship was pleased with was the play of new Quarterback, Savantez Phillips.
“For his first time to ever play the position, I thought he did a really good job of running the team and making play,” said Coach “Blank,” as he is affectionately called by his players.
On the other side of the ball, Defensive Coordinator, Carlos Atkins, also came away with a good feeling about the Tiger’s chances this fall.
“We gave up a couple of scores but our guys hit hard and made some good plays against two very good offenses,” said Hicks, whose defense returns the states top tackler in Xavier Atkins and the leading tackler among defensive linemen in Peyton Smith.
“Both of those guys are bigger and stronger than last year and are going to be hard to handle,” said Hick. “We had a couple of newcomers stand out as well.”
Hicks was referring to weakside linebacker Calen Jones who made several tackles and cornerback Jalen Barnes, who intercepted a pass in his first varsity action.