Jonesboro-Hodge hosts the Bunkie Panthers at Caldwell-Peacock Stadium this Friday, September 15th, for a battle against the team that is ranked #12 among “select” schools in Division III. Bunkie comes into the contest with a 2-0 record while JHHS sits at 1-1 on the year. Game time is set for 7:00 pm.
Series History: Jonesboro-Hodge owns a 5-1 advantage over Bunkie in the series, winning five straight including a 50-0 shellacking in 2021. Last year the Tigers fell 24-20 but it is the contest played in 1988 that has been dubbed as the “Immaculate Interception” that will always be remembered as perhaps the greatest game in JHHS history. Certainly it ranks as the most dramatic.
To set the stage, JHHS had traveled to Bunkie for a state semifinal contest in an attempt to make a second straight Class AA state championship game. Having won 12 of 13 games, the Panthers featured three backs who had rushed for over 1000 yards during the season.
Jonesboro-Hodge had taken a 19-7 halftime lead., leading to what has to be considered the most insane final two minutes of a Tiger game ever played. The craziness started with JHHS up 25-21 with just a few minutes left in the fourth quarter. JHHS had not been able to stop the Panthers the entire second half and Bunkie stormed down the field to take a 28-25 lead. JHHS reached the Bunkie 10 yard line with 18 seconds left but was facing a fourth down. The coaching staff couldn’t decide what to do and the Tigers suffered a delay of game penalty. Now out of the range of the Tigers normal kicker, Coach Walter Causey called on Cartrel Calahan to tie the game up with his first attempt all season.
You could hear a pin drop as the kick sailed toward the goal post before going over the cross bar with just inches to spare to tie the game. The game was now tied with just 14 seconds to play and it was assumed that Bunkie would simply take a knee after receiving the kickoff and the game would go into overtime.
With the ball at their own 25 yard line, unbelievably the Bunkie coach called for a screen pass that almost got picked off. Surely now they would take a knee but incredibly the Bunkie coach called for another pass play to the sideline that this time Brandon Bradley jumped the route and returned the interception for a touchdown as time ran out.
The result led to an Alexandria Town Talk sportswriter to pen, “God must be a Jonesboro-Hodge fan”. JHHS would go on to win the state championship a week later, for the second title in what known locally as the “three peat”.
Last Week: Jonesboro-Hodge fell hard to Class 5A West Ouachita by a 44-12 score while Bunkie beat Class 3A Patterson 26-0.
Keys to a Tiger Victory!
Control Bunkie passing attack! Last week it was the rushing attack that was scary. This week it is the Panthers passing attack. Bunkie has one of the best receiving corps in the state with a pair of tall and fast wideouts that played havoc on the Tigers secondary last year. How the Tigers secondary holds up is a huge key.
Generate a passing attack of their own! Cameron Leonard has proven to be a good runner but JHHS has to be able to throw the ball. In week one the passing attack was awesome. In week two it was awful. Tigers will need the week one passing attack.
Eliminate mistakes! True, this is important in every game but especially this week. JHHS can’t afford to give Bunkie a “short field” as they did last week or the result will be the same.
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