Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd hopes he has his team pointed in the right direction when the Cardinals host Eagle’s Landing tonight at Tara Stadium. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
Drew at McIntosh
Dutchtown vs. Riverdale (SC)
Eagle’s Landing vs. Jonesboro (T)
Forest Park at Creekside
East Coweta vs. Lovejoy (TO)
Morrow at Lee County
Mount Zion at Starr’s Mill
Mundy’s Mill at Coffee
Stockbridge vs. North Clayton (SC)
All games start at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Stadium key: SC - Southern Crescent, T - Tara, TO - Twelve Oaks.
JONESBORO — Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd didn’t come out and say it, but he certainly alluded to it earlier this week.
With a key game against Eagle’s Landing on tap tonight, the Cardinals must play with a sense of urgency.
“We can’t afford to put ourselves in a one and three hole,” said Floyd in reference to the team starting the season with a 1-3 record.
Jonesboro is coming off a 38-0 loss to third-ranked Griffin last week after giving up over 300 yards of offense to the Bears in the Region 4-AAAA, Div. B game. Eagle’s Landing and Jonesboro are on opposite sides of the subregion, but this game is still important.
Tonight’s game is billed as the first annual FCA Gridiron Classic at Tara Stadium. Earlier this week, the two teams came together at the FCA Gridiron Classic Banquet at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro. During the banquet, which featured Derrick Moore, the team chaplain for the Georgia Tech football team, athletes provided testimonials of how the ministry had made a difference in their lives.
But tonight, the attention will turn back to football.
And for Jonesboro, that means trying to stop a potentially high-powered Eagle’s Landing attack. The Golden Eagles (2-1) are lead by the running back duo of senior Corey Holloway and Sedrick Palmer. Coming into the game, Holloway has 364 yards rushing on 43 carries, including three for touchdowns. Palmer has 30 carries for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Jonesboro players realize they have a big task ahead of them tonight.
“Defensively, we have to read and react and wrap up on their running backs,” Jonesboro defensive back Kenneth Hillman said. “We have to come to play. This is a big game. We have to put last week behind us.”
The Cardinals defense will also face another top quarterback in Bradley Dewberry of Eagle’s Landing. In the first three games of the season, the senior has thrown for 520 yards and two touchdowns, completing 39 of 62 passes. He has also rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries.
Jonesboro must do a better job of containing him than they did Griffin quarterback Jaquez Parks last week. Parks accounted for four touchdowns in the win — three rushing and one through the air.
“Eagle’s Landing has a lot of weapons,” Floyd said. “We had a good week of practice, and everyone seemed real focused.”
The two wins that Eagle’s Landing has equals the total number of victories they had combined for the last two seasons. Eagle’s Landing’s wins have come against Ola and Upson-Lee while suffering a setback to Lamar County, which is ranked No. 2 in the latest Class AA in the Georgia Sportswriters Association Prep Football Poll.
The Golden Eagle’s held Ola and Upson-Lee to a combined 17 points while giving up 28 points against Lamar County, which is led by three Georgia Tech commitments.
“We’ve finally learned how to play team defense,” Eagle’s Landing coach Joe Teknipp said. “It’s not one or two superstars out there, but we’ve learned how to collectively run to the ball. And the unsung heroes are our defensive line.”
Despite its 1-2 record, Teknipp is not discounting Jonesboro.
“Jonesboro’s still got athletes, and they’ve got guys that can play offensively,” Teknipp said. “Our guys are definitely aware of their athleticism.”