Photo by Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd will lead his team against his alma mater Westover in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.
JONESBORO — Tim Floyd finally gets to go back home.
The Jonesboro coach will lead his seventh-ranked Cardinals against Westover, his alma mater, in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
Jonesboro vs. Westover
When, where: Friday, Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Records, rankings, and seeding: Jonesboro is 9-1, ranked No. 7 in Class AAAA and is the No. 3 seed from Region 4-AAAA. Westover is 7-3, unranked and is the No. 2 seed from Region 1-AAAA.
Series history: Jonesboro won the only matchup 34-12 on Sept. 7.
Game notes: Westover won the Albany city title with wins over Monroe, Dougherty and Albany. The Patriots are the first team in Westover history to host a playoff game. Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd is a 1992 graduate of Westover. Floyd was a teammate of Westover coach Octavia Jones at Albany State. Westover’s last playoff win came in 2007 when it defeated Thomson 15-13 in the first round and Henry County 22-21 in the second round. Jonesboro has not won a playoff game since 1949.
In an earlier matchup between the two teams in Albany, Floyd was unable to attend the game while serving a two-game suspension to start the season for recruiting violations. Jonesboro won the first game at Hugh Mills Stadium in September.
“I know its hard to beat a team twice in one season,” said Floyd, who graduated from Westover in 1992 before playing four years at Albany State.
Floyd is a college teammate of Westover coach Octavia Jones.
“From an emotional standpoint, I’m looking forward to the game since I missed the earlier game,” Floyd said. “We have to put all that behind us and focus on the goals we had coming into the season. Westover is the first obstacle in our way.”
Floyd is expected to have several family members in attendance for the 7:30 p.m. game on Friday. The Cardinals won the earlier match up 34-12 after being down 12-8 at the intermission.
Jonesboro players say they are looking forward to the rematch with their head coach being on the sideline this time.
“You know it is special for him,” Cardinals senior Cameron Sutton said. “It is definitely a motivational factor for us. This adds some excitement to the game.”
In that earlier win, Sutton had 122 yards of offense and three touchdowns. Patrick Petty added a 79-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second-half of the game.
Both teams coming into the game on a hot streak as Westover has won five straight since a 31-7 loss to Cairo on Sept. 28.
Since a 34-33 loss at Griffin, Jonesboro has won seven straight to clinch a playoff berth. This is the first time in school history that Jonesboro has consecutive nine-win seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances.
The last time Jonesboro won 10 games in a season was in 1949 when the Cardinals went 10-2 to reach the state semifinals.
“In that first game against Westover we made a lot of mistakes,” Cardinal senior linebacker Quinton Edwards said. “This time we want to get a win for coach Floyd. It would be nice for him to win against his old school. We have to play like we are the No. 7 team in the state.”
Although they defeated Westover in the first meeting, Jonesboro players say they will not take the Patriots lightly in the rematch.
“We have no reason to take them lightly,” Edwards said. “They have a good team.”
Floyd said he has reminded his team about teams that have failed to beat others in a rematch during the season. He used the example of last season’s BCS Championship game where Alabama defeated LSU after the Tigers won the regular season matchup on the road.
“Our guys will be focused on Westover,” Floyd said. “We have had some good references to get their attention about rematch games. I think the Alabama-LSU game hit them hard to drive home the point. We can’t focus on what happened earlier this season.”