The first district game to be played inside the newly renovated Historic Tomato Bowl will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday when Whitehouse pays a visit to Cherokee County.
The Wildcats are 2-2 overall, while the Tribe are 1-3.
Whitehouse opened District 9-5A-II play with a 40-14 win over Mount Pleasant last week. At the same time, Nacogdoches punished the Indians, 49-14, in another conference lid lifter.
The Indians regressed in last week's loss and Jacksonville head football coach Wayne Coleman said that the Tribe were their own worst enemies for much of the night.
“You have to give Nacogdoches some credit. I think they will win their share of district games,” Coleman said. “We had too many early penalties, false starts and jumping off sides on defense. When you play a quality opponent and you make these type of mistakes, you end up losing by a lot and that is what happened. And on top of all that, we didn't make many of that plays that we had been making offensively.”
Whitehouse's loses have been to Henderson (27-0) and to Melissa (36-14).
In addition to last week's victory, the 'Cats stopped Chapel Hill 46-39 in Week 2.
“Whitehouse is getting better and better each week,” Coleman said. “I think a lot of people were surprised at how bad Whitehouse beat Mt. Pleasant. I think we are probably catching them (Whitehouse) at a bad time. They are scary right now.”
The Wildcats are averaging 308 total yards a game, with 162 yards coming on the ground and 146 coming through the air.
“They like to rotate a lot of kids in and out of their offense and they are able to do that well,” Coleman said. “You may only see Peyton Kennedy (6'-1”, 195 lbs.) in there on occasion, but when he is in the game you have to be careful to not give up the big play to him.”
Kennedy has seven carries for 134 yards and averages right at eight yards a run.
Carter Adams (5'-9”, 155 lbs.) has toted the rock 33 times and had picked up 255 yards for the 'Cats and has scored three touchdowns.
Quarterback Kaden Casey (5'-11”, 175 lbs.) is off to a good start also. He has completed 49-of-76 passes for 586 yards . Casey has six touchdown passes against two interceptions.
Coleman said that his team matches up better size wise in the trenches with the Wildcats, compared to Nacogdoches.
“We are still the smallest team in the district, but Whitehouse isn't as big as Nacogdoches,” he said.
Jacksonville's keys to the game
In addition to shooting itself in the foot, the Tribe must be content with reeling off long drives and picking up yardage in moderate amounts.
“Whitehouse is a lot like Nacogdoches defensively in that they play a bend, but don't break style,” Coleman said. “They just don't give up big plays and they will not let us beat them deep. We will have to maintain long drives and get our yardage three or four yards at a time.”
Coleman said that a limited amount of new offensive formations have been added to the playbook for this week's game, but they have to be used in a cautious manner.
“You want to throw in a few things that they (Whitehouse) have not seen us do on film,” Coleman said. “But at the same time, you can't have your kids doing a lot of things that they are not comfortable in doing and expect that to work. It's a fine line between the two.”
Coleman's Players of the Week
Defensive Player of the Week for the Nacogdoches game went to Bryson Tatum, who was making his first start at inside linebacker.
Offensive lineman Kobe Anderson (6'-2”, 300 lbs.), who is a transfer from Whitehouse, was selected as the Offensive Player of the Week.
Preston Chandler, who handles all of the snaps, earned the Special Teams Player of the Week honor.
Two-way starter Aaron Richardson garnered the Fighting Heart accolade.