The Northeast Jones Tigers will travel to Raleigh on Friday to take on the Lions in search of their second win of the season. Both the Tigers and Lions are looking to bounce back from tough losses against county rivals in Week 2.
The Tigers are hoping to recover from last week's 42-7 home loss to West Jones. A key focus for the team entering Week 3 will be ball control, after three first-half turnovers against the Mustangs resulted in scoring drives that ultimately put the game out of reach.
The offense hopes to establish its running game, led by seniors Tony Barnes and Zymarrian Ducksworth, in an effort to control the pace of the game. Both Barnes and Ducksworth are averaging 4.2 yards per carry through two weeks of the season. Freshman Kye Braddock seems to be emerging as a leader on the defensive side of the ball, averaging a team-high 9.5 tackles per game with 14.5 tackles made in Week 2. Braddock's role on the unit will continue to expand as the season progresses, making him one of the county's youngest leaders on the gridiron.
Likewise, the Lions are coming off a 36-8 home loss to the Taylorsville Tartars in which they showed a lot of positive potential, but failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities. The Lions' defense forced three turnovers, but only came away with points on one of the three ensuing drives. Do-it-all junior Margro Perkins has become the team's unquestionable leader as a big playmaker on both sides of the ball. Perkins accumulated 80 yards and a touchdown as a receiver in the Lions' opener, along with catching an interception while playing defensive back.
The Lions and Tigers have played each other four times since 1965, with Northeast Jones coming out on top in three of them. Their last meeting was played at Raleigh in 2012, and the Tigers won, 31-8.
Taylorsville vs. Jeff Davis Co.
The Taylorsville Tartars host a new yet familiar opponent Thursday night — the Jefferson Davis County Jaguars. The Tartars had a long-standing rivalry against the former 2A powerhouse Bassfield Yellow Jackets, having played each other annually from 2001 to 2015. The rivalry was halted when Bassfield consolidated with Prentiss in 2016 to become Jefferson Davis County High School and moved up to class 3A. Though the name and colors changed, the program is still known for dominating on the football field.
Taylorsville head coach Mitch Evans said this could be his team's toughest challenge since they last played Bassfield.
"This might be the best team we've played since 2015," Evans said to his team following their game against Raleigh. "Starting tomorrow we have to be locked in and ready to roll."
The Jaguars are 1-1 entering Week 3. They lost their opener 24-0 at D'Iberville but bounced back with a strong 36-14 win over Collins last week. The Tartars enter the matchup with a 2-0 record after dominating road games against Scott Central (32-12) and Raleigh (36-8) to start the season. Both teams are considered by many to be early favorites to win their respective class, making tonight’s (Thursday) contest a challenging clash for both.