Jacksonville Daily Progress
Sometimes things are not really as good as a final score of a football game may indicate, and at times things are not nearly as bad as the set of numerals that get recorded into the book after 48 minutes of play state.
And while the casual Jacksonville football fan may have exited Tomato Bowl last Friday night with negative thoughts after the Tribe lost its District 16-4A opener to Nacogdoches by a 31-0 score, there were several encouraging signs that were emitted by the Indians.
Coming into the game the Indians had struggled mightily in the first quarter of games this season. After 12 minutes of play last week the Indians (0-6, 0-1) and the Dragons (5-1, 1-0) were knotted at 0-0 - that folks is a small victory.
For the game the Indian defense held Nacogdoches to 388 total yards, which was a team best for this season. This is another sign that some facets of the Indians' game are heading in the right direction.
"The bottom line is, regardless of what your record is, are you getting better from week to week," Tribe defensive coordinator Mike Waldie said. "When you lose its frustrating, and there were somethings that didn't go our way, but more than anything else, we got better as a football team (last) Friday night.
"There are no moral victories in football, but when you have had a lot of injuries and you have not been playing well, you have to recognize the little things that you improve on from week to week and you have to focus on that."
Waldie said that the Tribesmen improved in the run defense department, tackled better and were more aggressive in the secondary than in past weeks.
Offensively, Waldie commented that the Tribe's running game made significant improvement last Friday.
"We did several things better and that's encouraging," Waldie said. "But because of inexcusable penalties we twice allowed them (Nacogdoches) to keep a drive alive after we had held them on third down twice and the second time that we did that they snuck their fastest kid in the game and we missed making four tackles on him that led to a touchdown as the first half ended. I think if we could have gone in to the locker room only down 14-0 it would have been a different game."
The Jacksonville mission is the same this week as it was seven days ago, according to Waldie.
"Our goal in our five district games is to figure out a way to get into the playoffs," he said. "We had a chance to basically beat a team last week that is one play away from being undefeated. We have been the most competitive in our last two games, with Marshall and Nacogdoches, and we want to continue on farther in that direction this week."
The injury bug bit the Indians big time last week, with the team losing two offensive linemen, a receiver and the team's starting quarterback.
Waldie said final medical assessments will not be made until today, but due to the nature of sophomore receiver Cash Cleaver's injury (head) that he would be doubtful, although he has shown progress in recovering this week, for the Whitehouse game.
The polls say the Wildcats of head coach Adam Cook are the third best team in Texas Class 4A.
Waldie went one step farther with his praise and respect for Whitehouse (6-0, 1-0).
"I don't put as much stock in polls as power rankings," he explained. "One poll may slightly favor teams from down south, another may be slanted more towards Metroplex schools.
"The power rankings have Whitehouse listed as the No. 2 team in the state, they are just that good."
Whitehouse, who averages 56 points a game, has quality wins over Hallsville (58-28), Chapel Hill (42-34) and Carthage (63-39) and opened conference play last week by trouncing Lindale, 63-7, in Lindale.
The 'Cats are led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a Texas Tech commit. Mahomes through five games had gone 123-206 -1,962 yards while tossing 24 touchdowns and only one interception.
Whitehouse's top pass catchers are Jake Parker and Jaylon Dews.
Parker has 30 catches for 542 yards and five touchdowns, with Dews having snagged 29 balls for 355 yards and six touchdowns.
Mahomes, Parker and Dews are all seniors.
In other 16-4A action slated to be played Friday, Nacogdoches travels to Corsicana and John Tyler hosts Lindale.