Takeaways from JHHS pre-season scrimmage

After a long summer and fall of hitting each other, the Jonesboro-Hodge High School football team finally got to line up against someone else this past Friday night. The opponent was Class 4A Grant High School, who ventured to Caldwell-Peacock Stadium to take part in a controlled scrimmage that matched up the first and second teams from both in several series before ending with a game situation, 12 minute period. 

“It was a good test for us,” said JHHS head coach Terrance Blankenship. “Grant has a good team and helped us see several areas we need to work on and where we should be ok.”

For the record, in the game like situational period of play, Grant won by a 13-8 margin after jumping out to a 13-0 lead. The visitors made one good drive and scored another on a busted coverage play.

“They earned one touchdown and we gave them the other when our guys didn’t line up right,” said Blankenship

After the first Grant score, JHHS moved the ball to the opponents 11 yard line before turning it over on downs and had another drive stalled in Grant territory when a fourth down run came up inches short. The score came on a 14 yard Chase “Smoke” Leonard pass to Zion Gray one play after Xavier Atkins forced a fumble and then recovered it. 

“I expected our offense to start slow being that we had new players at almost every skill position,” continued Blankenship. “The score was a positive note to end the game on.,” 

The scrimmage was in preperation of the Bayou Jamb contest against Class 4A Franklin Parish that will kick off at 1:00pm next Saturday, August 27th at Joe Aillet Stadium on the campus of Louisiana Tech University. The regular season will start on Friday, September 2nd on the road against Class 2A General Trass High School, located in Lake Providence. 

Here are some takeaways from the contest:

(1) JHHS has one of the biggest offensive lines in school history! With a starting line that averages 305 pounds across on the offensive line the Tigers are a load up front. It is expected that the Tigers will utilize more of a ball control offense this year. 

(2) New offensive set shown! For the past several years, the Tigers ran mostly a spread offense with the quarterback being in the shotgun set. On Friday, JHHS ran many plays from the old fashioned Power I formation, which incorporates a full back lead blocker and deep set tailback. 

(3) Running back by committee! Unlike years past where JHHS had mostly one predominant back that carried the ball, the Tigers look to be deeper at the position allowing them to constantly rotate backs. 

(4) Young players show promise! If the scrimmage is any indication the future looks bright for the Tigers and it won’t be surprising if some members from the freshman class see action this year. 

(5)  Tigers have one of their largest rosters in recent memory! After years of dressing out 35-40 players on average, the Tigers boast 50 players this season giving the Tigers added depth that hasn’t been available before. 

(6) New “skill” players look comfortable! One concern coming into this season was how quick the new players that would handle the ball would come around. As the contest wore on and the guys got more settled you could see growth in their field maturity. 

“We have to get better in several areas if we want to reach the goals we have set for ourselves this year,” finalized Blankenship. “The best takeaway from tonight was that most of the things we need to improve on is something that can be corrected.” 

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