(Clay Williams) The start of the Jonesboro-Hodge High School football season is coming in hot, and “hot” was the most commonly used word to describe the 17th annual Bayou Jamb this weekend which saw the Tigers fall to St. Frederick of Monroe 22-0.
Due to temperatures as high as 106 degrees in the forecast, the matchup was moved from 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning to 6:00 p.m. Thursday evening. While it was only 103 degrees at kickoff, the Warriors turned up the heat early by driving down the field and finding the end zone to make it an 8-0 game with 9:10 left in
the first half of a game that was played in two 12-minute halves.
After quickly picking up a first down, J-H punted it back to the Warriors, but this time they didn’t have the same success as before. The St. Fred’s quarterback lofted one into the end zone trying to beat the Tigers deep, but Sophomore safety Dakota Knox made him regret it by intercepting it with 4:26 left in the half. Neither team found much offensive success the rest of the half, and the Tigers went into halftime trailing 8-0.
J-H opened up the second half by making a QB change hoping to spark a fire in the offense, with Knox replacing starter Symeon Malone. The stout Warriors defense, that allowed only 17.9 points per game last season, continued to stand strong, and held the young Tigers offense scoreless in the second half as well.
On the other side of the ball, J-H continued a solid defensive performance in the second half. With contributions from Jaylin Barnes, Landon Boston, and Kalep Atkins, the Tigers kept it to a one possession game all the way into the final 3 minutes of the contest.
That is when the Tigers defense, which consisted of multiple offensive starters, started to wear down, and the St. Fred’s QB scampered his way into the endzone to make it a 15-0 ballgame with 2:59 left to play. A Warriors scoop and score in the final minutes led to the final outcome.
“Good thing it was a scrimmage,” said Jonesboro-Hodge Head Coach Terrance Blankenship. “It wasn’t good, but we did get the chance to go out and compete against somebody else. We still have a lot of work to do, and we’re counting on a lot of young guys to do a lot of stuff. Hopefully some of these older guys will step up and take the pressure off of them, but if not, we’re just going to live with these young guys and get ready for next year.”
One positive takeaway for the Tigers, is that the team came away from the jamboree uninjured, after battling it out in the heat.
“You could tell a few of them got fatigued a little bit, and that’s just conditioning,” Blankenship said when asked how the team handled the high temperatures. “In this kind of heat, it’s going to be hard for anybody to go both ways, and we don’t have the type of numbers to play guys one way. We expect that for the next two or three games, but hopefully against General Trass next week our numbers will be more equal.”
Jonesboro-Hodge will officially kickoff the 2023 regular season at 7:00 pm this Friday, September 1st, at Caldwell-Peacock Stadium against 2A foe General Trass out of Lake Providence.
To view the postgame interview with Coach Blankenship click here.