By Rory Sharrock
Take a walk on the practice field at Jonesboro High School and there's no denying the sounds of playoff football echoing through the air.
From the blistering winds blowing through the player's facemasks to the crowd simulation noise and Seminole war chant pumping out of the speakers, the Cardinals have soaked up every aspect of postseason football and they're enjoying each note of this symphony.
Last week, the No. 3 seeded Cards boarded the bus for Hephzibah and edged out the No. 2 seeded Rebels 18-17 for their first playoff win since beating Lincolnton (now Lincoln County) 41-6 on Nov. 25, 1949. For their reward, Jonesboro makes a trip down Interstate 75 to face undefeated and top-seed Westside-Macon Friday night in the second round.
"We have a tremendous task ahead of us," said Jonesboro head coach Clint Satterfield. "The most points they've (Westside-Macon) given up in a game is seven. Defensively they're strong.
Offensively they're strong. There's not a chink in the armor. We're going to go down there and play. We're not going down there to roll over."
Jonesboro pulled out a gutsy road win versus Hephzibah that included a superb defensive performance.
The Cards put the clamp down on the Rebels, stopping them eight times inside the red zone.
The victory was clinched with a botched snap by Hephzibah on a potential game-winning field goal with eight seconds on the clock.
Although last week's win was great and the squad hopes there's many more to come down the line, 2008's 7-4 mark has been one of the best seasons in the history of Jonesboro High School.
They've been playing football at Jonesboro since 1948 and this year was only the fourth time the Cards have made it to the playoffs.
Although this current crop of players, or their parents for that matter, weren't even thought of when that win occurred, they know they're establishing a new legacy at Jonesboro and this book is not quite yet complete.
"This is the first time in years that our school has ever won a playoff game. I think that's a real big sign. Just to be a part of this is really special," said Jonesboro quarterback Cliff Crews.
In order to write another winning chapter in the history books, Jonesboro must once again bring its A-game on the road at Westside-Macon.
The 11-0 Seminoles have given up only 36 points all season and have beaten the opposition by an average margin of 41 points per game.
The Cards must have a mistake-free game with little to no turnovers if they are to pull off the upset. Jonesboro's strength lies on the defensive side of the ball and this unit, which features seven players on the First, Second and Honorable Mention All-Region 4-AAAA Team, is going to have to shorten the field and create scoring opportunities for the offense against the Seminoles.
"Our offense has picked it up the past couple of weeks. But it's going to take a complete game. This is one of those games you have to win the turnover battle, time of possession and first downs. Everything has to be clicking," said Satterfield.
Kick off for Friday's playoff game is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Westside-Macon High School. If Jonesboro wins, it will advance to the Class AAAA quarterfinals and play at either Hillgrove or Tucker on Nov. 28.