Photo by Dennis Thomas / Jonesboro wide receiver Cameron Sutton makes a catch Friday at Twelve Oaks Stadium against Woodland.
LOVEJOY — Jonesboro quarterback Mario Atkinson proved he could do a little bit of everything Friday night at Twelve Oaks Stadium, passing for three touchdowns and running for another to lead the Cardinals to a 34-20 decision over visiting Woodland.
Atkinson completed 16 of 24 pass attempts for 281 yards and accounted for all three of his touchdown passes in the decisive second period as the Cardinals did just enough early on to improve to 4-1 going into next week’s date at North Clayton.
His error-prone team needed every one of those plays to overcome a staggering 19 penalties for 146 yards and the two touchdowns it had called back and still manage to win the game.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff to work on,” Atkinson said. “We did well enough, but we’ll have to do better against some of the better teams we’ll be facing later on.”
Atkinson’s primary weapons were speedy receivers Dereon London and Cameron Sutton. London totaled 104 yards and two scores, while Sutton, a future Tennessee Volunteer, finished with five catches for 55 yards.
Jonesboro trailed 7-6 when Atkinson found London for the first of his two scores, this one coming from 5 yards that gave the hosts the lead for good at 13-7 with a little more than 10 minutes left in the first half.
Atkinson later added touchdown strikes of 55 yards and 77 yards to Ferguson and London, respectively, to fuel his team’s 21-point second-quarter outburst.
“In the second quarter, we kind of got on a roll and the offense got going,” Cardinals coach Tim Floyd said. “We’ve got a lot of offensive weapons and at any time they can put it on. We just have to be more consistent.”
The Wolfpack managed just 104 yards of total offense in the decisive first half, half of which came from their opening drive that resulted in the game’s first score.
Senior tailback Malcolm Miller provided all the offense for Woodland, rushing for 90 yards on 23 carries and accounting for all of his team’s three touchdowns.
Atkinson got his team on the board late in the opening period, taking a designed quarterback draw 10 yards into the end zone to pull the Cardinals to within 7-6 with 2:14 left in the first quarter.
The game took a scary turn in the waning moments following an upper torso injury of some kind to Woodland quarterback Taylor Poff. The junior was preparing to head to a local hospital at the game’s end.
The loss dropped Woodland to 1-4.