Jonesboro-Hodge looks to break into the win column for the first time after three straight losses to open the season this Friday evening when the host Lincoln Prep at Caldwell-Peacock Stadium for a 7:00pm clash.
Will this be the week that the Tigers break the longest season opening losing streak in a decade and longest ever in head coach Terrance Blankenship’s tenure.? All indications show that there is a distinct possibility and even probability to get off the snide IF……..
IF the Tigers can continue to show improvement as they have in each of the three weeks prior. Granted the growth has come in baby steps but if the second half of the 24-20 loss to Bunkie is any indications, major strides were finally made.
The main reason for the optimism was the insertion of former offensive/defensive lineman, Dominick Strickland, at quarterback. Injured with a seperated shoulder on his non throwing arm in the first game, the 6’5″ 245 lb. senior was told his days as a lineman were over. Not wanting to see his high school footbal career come to an end that way, Strickland and coaching staff decided to explore what the possibilities of him playing quarterback was.
For about ten minutes at the end of practice the day before the Bunkie game, Strickland took a few snaps and impressed the coaching staff with his strong right arm and surprising accuracy of his passes.
After two quarters of zero production by the offense and with the Tigers down 24-0 to Bunkie, Blankenship decided to give Strickland a shot. The effect was immediate. Strickland starting connecting with his receivers downfield. This forced Bunkie to stop stacking the line which allowed the JH rushing attack to be effective as well. The result was as many points scored in the second half as over the first two and a half games.
IF the Tigers can cut down on mistakes! Jonesboro-Hodge neared school record territory against Bunkie by committing seven turnovers. It wasn’t just the number of turnovers but when they happened as well. Especially the last two against Bunkie when after clawing their way back from a 24 point deficit the Tigers closed the gap to four points and had the home team reeling. An interception that bounced off the receivers chest and a judgement error when trying to field a punt allowed Bunkie to escape with the win.
IF the Tigers don’t get over confident! Say what? How can a team that is 0-3 be over confident. Jonesboro-Hodge hasn’t lost to Lincoln Prep/Grambling in 20 years. The Tigers have beaten the Panthers the last six times they have played them and the last time the two met, JHHS won by 50 points. Added to the fact the current edition of Tigers have consistently beaten their neighboring parish counterpart their entire junior high and high school career in football it could lead to JHHS being complacent and expecting an easy win.
The Tigers better be ready though as this year’s edition of Panthers seems to be a different breed of Cat’s. Under first year head coach Glen Hall, despite being undersized and outmanned, L-Prep has won two of their first three games, beating Class 2A Madison Parish 14-0 and district rival Plain Dealing 48-20. Last week Arcadia saddled the Panthers with their first loss by a surprising 44-0 margin.
Xavier Atkins visits Texas A&M University
In the it “never hurts to keep your options open” category, Jonesboro-Hodge junior linebacker and LSU committ, Xavier Atkins, took a visit to Texas A&M University when the Aggies played the University of Miami this past Saturday.
“I really enjoyed my visit and appreciate the coaching staff for inviting me,” said the three star recruit. “The environment was crazy and I really liked the agressive way their linebackers played.”