Predicting the Lovejoy, Jonesboro game

Photo by Brian Paglia Staff writers Darryl Maxie (left) and Derrick Mahone give their predictions of who win the Lovejoy-Jonesboro game. 

Photo by Brian Paglia Staff writers Darryl Maxie (left) and Derrick Mahone give their predictions of who win the Lovejoy-Jonesboro game. 

Darryl Maxie says

Lovejoy wins ...

Lovejoy will win again.

What, that was supposed to be hard?

That’s no more difficult than declaring the sun will rise in the East — you know, again — although I will grant you that it’s not making its ascent against the Jonesboro defense.

Picking Lovejoy to win is the easy part. Picking Jonesboro to lose is a little more difficult, given that the Cardinals are playing better than they ever have.

But I figured out how to do it and it’s simpler than it looks.

See, if Lovejoy wins — as it has in 17 consecutive regular-season games — then it stands to reason somebody has to lose. We have instructed our correspondent to be on the lookout for any stray teams who might happen by Twelve Oaks Stadium tonight. If none shows up, it’s a safe bet that the somebody who has to lose must be Jonesboro — just as it has in the teams’ last seven meetings.

I’ve seen both teams play. Lovejoy dominated North Clayton 24-0, applying pressure, forcing mistakes and punishing the Eagles for just about every one. Like Mike Tyson once said, everybody has a plan until they get hit, and I almost had to call DFACS on the Wildcats.

Jonesboro came back on Creekside for a 19-13 victory, once its quarterback, Cedric Nettles — by his own halftime admission to his teammates — got his head in the game. Until then, the Cardinals looked lifeless.

If one guy, even your quarterback, can be taken out of the equation and the whole offense falls flat for a whole half, that screams vulnerability. Can’t do that against Lovejoy. And Creekside proved awfully helpful against Jonesboro, committing four turnovers in a 13-minute span.

I don’t see Lovejoy being that nice.

Of course, you will rightly point out, I am the guy who predicted No. 1-ranked Sandy Creek to lose two consecutive games that the Patriots won by a combined 52 points. Besides the fact that those picks were egregiously inaccurate — stinking-out-loud wrong, wrong, wrong, if we must be blunt — there’s a reason such failures are so memorable.

That’s because they’re rare.

Derrick Mahone says

Jonesboro wins ...

It has been 58 years since Jonesboro has gone this deep into a season without a loss.

The Cardinals will be in the spotlight tonight when they travel to Twelve Oaks Stadium to take on No. 8 Lovejoy for supremacy in Region 4-AAAA.

Tonight’s winner will take sole possession of first place in the region standings.

The question becomes, can Jonesboro handle the pressure of playing in the spotlight? It is a role the football team is not accustomed to. Lovejoy has played in some big contests over the last two seasons, but the Cardinals are novices to this.

However, several of the team’s key players have been a part of other successful sports teams at the school.

People often refer to Lovejoy as Lovejoy University because each season coach Al Hughes has a large number of players who sign college scholarships. Jonesboro is just as talented in the skill positions.

The Cardinals will not be intimidated by the talent on the other side of the field.

As far as skill players go, this matchup is even. For the Cardinals to be successful, their offensive line must provide the protection to allow the skill players to make the plays.

If the defensive line doesn’t get pushed around, the linebackers and secondary will be able to make the plays to contain Lovejoy’s offensive attack.

Mistakes and penalties might be the deciding factor, and Jonesboro hasn’t beaten itself much this season.

For the Cardinals to be in the position to play a game like this says a lot about the team. When asked, each player has sacrificed a little of themselves for the good of the team.

Jonesboro has experienced some success this season, and it seems poised for some more.

Tonight, Jonesboro has a chance to make a statement that is should be thought of as a playoff-caliber team.