Photo by Derrick Mahone
Lovejoy defensive back Jermaine Hough has been a part of the team's special teams that has blocked 11 punts and two kicks this season.
Lovejoy coach Al Hughes treats special teams with the same importance as he does the offense and defense.
Each day, the ninth-ranked Wildcats begin each practice with special teams work.
And it has definitely shown in games this season.
As the Wildcats head into Friday’s Region 4-AAAA showdown with Jonesboro, their special teams play is responsible for 11 blocked punts and two blocked kicks in six games.
“The kids have bought into what we have tried to do on special teams,” Hughes said. “They are taking pride in the special teams. We treat special teams just like we do our offense and defense. The majority of the big plays happen on your special teams.”
Hughes said he doesn’t hold back personnel when it comes to special teams. He puts his best 11, regardless if they start on offense or defense, on the special team units.
Each of the 11 blocked punts has resulted in a score.
“We’ve found it’s better to put pressure,” Hughes said. “If they punt it fast, they might rush it, or we might block it. The goal is to get good field position.”
Henry County running back Jonathan Jean-Bart will have an MRI today on the knee he injured on a kickoff return in the Warhawks’ 9-7 loss at Stockbridge on Friday.
The senior’s knee bent inward as he was tackled in the first half on the kickoff return. He did not return to the game, because of swelling in the knee.
Jean-Bart, who has committed to play college football at Georgia State, said the doctors said there were not major issues with the knee, but ordered an MRI as a precaution.
“The swelling has gone down, but they gave me a little brace to keep my leg straight,” said Jean-Bart, who has 539 yards rushing this season.
Henry County hosts Spalding Friday in a Region 4-AAA game. He said he wasn’t sure if he would be cleared to play.
“I want to play,” Jean-Bart said.
LOOKING FOR THREE
On three separate occasions, Drew has pieced together a two-game winning streak.
If the Titans can defeat Eagle’s Landing on its homecoming Friday, they will have the first three-game winning streak in school history.
Drew is currently tied with Stockbridge for second place in the Region 4-AAA standings, but the Titans own the tiebreaker after their 31-7 win two weeks ago.
BIG GAME HYPE
Last season, Lovejoy played against Creekside in a game that decided the Region 4-AAAA championship.
The Wildcats’ game this week against Jonesboro will probably have those same ramifications when the teams meet at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
Jonesboro, 6-0 for the first time in school history, will be playing in its biggest regular-season game in recent history. Cardinals coach Tim Floyd said his team should be able to handle all the pre-game hype that will surround the contest, with the winner taking over sole possession of first place.
“We are telling them what they can expect from outside distractions,” Floyd said. “We let them know that they have to focus on what is going on on the field.”
Floyd’s Lovejoy counterpart, Al Hughes, is delivering the same message to his team.
“Every game we play is a big game,” Hughes said. “Everyone wants to beat Lovejoy. Jonesboro is another great team.”