Forget all the hyperbole and motivational speeches; Friday's District 9-5A-II game between Jacksonville and Hallsville (7:30 p.m. Friday at Bobcat Stadium) really just condenses down to a mere three words that fans of both teams are probably uttering. Just win baby!
Two teams desperate for a victory and working to end the regular season somewhere other than the conference's cellar, will go at it this week in what also will be the homecoming game for the Bobcats.
Hallsville is 2-5, 0-4 and has not tasted victory since a 16-13 win over Bullard in Week 3.
Jacksonville's only win of the season came in Week 2 when the Tribe (1-6, 0-4) edged Palestine by one point at Wildcat Stadium.
The Bobcats, coached by Joe Drennon, downed the Tribe 40-30 in last year's meeting and Jacksonville head football coach Wayne Coleman said that he hopes his team has learned something from that game.
“Last year coming into the Hallsville game we knew that we didn't have a chance at making the playoffs, and we let the disappointment of that that fact cloud our vision,” he said. “We are in the same boat this year, but we have to realize that our three most winnable games are the next three on our schedule, and that we still have a chance to finish strong and with some momentum.”
The last time the two schools faced off in Hallsville (2017) Jacksonville rallied in the fourth quarter to clip the Bobcats, 15-14.
As for the keys of the games for the Indians, Coleman summed things up in this manner.
“We have to play unselfish defense, we need to do a good job with our run fits on defense to help our linebackers out, and on offense we have to do a better job of sticking with the plan and see the play develop all the way — we have to avoid trying to improvise,” he said.
“At this point in the season we should be doing all of these things not for ourselves, but for the love of our teammates.”
PLAYER OF THE WEEK — After a 32-point to Marshall, one of three teams tied for first place in the loop standings, last week, Coleman named only one player of the week...Senior Chris Carpenter, who averaged 38 yards per punt, was named Special Teams Player of the Week.