Jonesboro-Hodge (2-5, 0-2) at Sterlington (5-2, 1-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
Forget about Jonesboro-Hodge's record. Sterlington coach sees the Tigers as a dangerous opponent. Kickoff time for the Panthers' homecoming contest is 7 p.m. Friday.
J-Hodge (2-5, 0-2) brings a three-game losing streak into the contest, but has the capability to score in a hurry.
Specifically, Thompson is concerned about tailback Jamian Williams' big-play prowess.
“You only have to turn their film on for about a minute to see that the tailback stands out,” Thompson said. “He's going to make you tackle him. We didn't do a very good job of that in the fourth quarter last week at Winnfield and I'm sure they've seen that on film.”
Slotback Kyrae Cottingham is also a threat for the Tigers.
Left guard Chence Williams (6-0, 300, jr.) and right tackle Matthew Hall (6-4, 340, sr.) anchor a massive offensive line.
“Offensively, they want to run the ball,” Thompson said. “We have to do a great job of tackling them.”
J-Hodge opened the season with a 28-6 victory over Arcadia, lost to Cedar Creek (43-20) and Avoyelles (20-6) and defeated North Caddo (53-22). Since then, the Tigers have lost to Many (20-0) and District 2-2A rivals Oak Grove (56-28) and Lake Providence General Trass (24-20).
Despite their recent struggles, Thompson says the Tigers aren't a team to be taken lightly.
“They've played Many, Oak Grove and Cedar Creek — all of those are quality opponents,” Thompson said. “They've played some tough games this season and I'm sure they would love nothing more than to come in here and spoil our homecoming.”
Like most of his coaching brethren, homecoming doesn't make Thompson's list of favorites.
“It's always a concern as a head coach, trying to keep the kids focused during homecoming week,” Thompson said. “I've preached that to them all week long.
“Homecoming's not about the football team; homecoming's about all the former players and alumni coming back. Our job is to play the game.”
Coming off of a 28-7 loss at Winnfield last week, Thompson says the Panthers (5-2, 1-1) don't seem to be distracted by the homecoming festivities.
“Sometimes a loss — if used the right way — can be a good thing to get you refocused and make you a little hungrier to get back on the winning side. I think that's the case with this bunch. We've had two pretty good days so far,” Thompson said Tuesday evening.
Sterlington was held to a season-low 110 yards rushing last week, while passing for 111.
Tailback Jaylon Wade (102 carries, 843 yards, 10 touchdowns), fullback Austin Haman (68-547-10) and quarterback Devon Murphy (55-298-8) lead the ground attack. Murphy has also passed for 344 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, while punting 25 times for a 34.3-yard average.
QuenTerrius Gray (10 receptions, 106 yards) is the team's top receiver.
Linebacker Cody McGuire (75 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 2 sacks), end DeMarcus Matthews (53 tackles, 4 TFL, 5 sacks) and linebacker Calvin Clay (50 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries lead the way defensively.
Defensive lineman Nick Naile matched a career-high with 11 stops vs Winnfield. His previous season-high was against West Ouachita in Week 2.
Both teams are on the road next week — Sterlington at General Trass (formerly Lake Providence High School) and J-Hodge at Ferriday.