Wilkinson County set to travel to Jefferson County for district matchup

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Jefferson County High School Tigers will try to end a three-game losing streak this week as they will host the Wilkinson County High School Wildcats for homecoming at 7 p.m. Friday.

Jefferson County (1-5, 0-1) is coming off a tough loss at rival Port Gibson in their MHSAA Region 7-3A opener, 20-16. Tigers’ coach James Herrington said penalties and turnovers attributed to the loss.

“Hats off to an outstanding effort from Port Gibson. They made plays when they needed to, and we didn’t. They put forth a little more effort in certain situations than we did,” Herrington said. “We had opportunities. It was there for the taking. We just didn’t step up to the plate.”

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While Herrington said he was pleased with the effort of his team’s defensive unit during the game, he was not at all thrilled with the mental lapses and turnovers from the offense.

“We played pretty stout defense throughout the game. We had a big turnover at the 28-yard line that led to a touchdown (for Port Gibson),” Herrington said. “We have to understand that we have to take care of the football. Penalties — we have to clean that up.”

Wilkinson County (3-3, 1-0) enters this game riding a two-game winning streak. The Wildcats defeated Franklin County last week after Terrell Coleman blocked a late field goal attempt, 15-13.

Coleman also had 91 rushing yards on 18 carries and added the game-winning 2-point conversion run for the Wildcats late in the third quarter.

“Glad and fortunate we came out with a win,” Wildcats head coach Kenneth Brown said. “We were able to hold on and secure a victory, and we were able to win our first district game. We had a good rush (on the field goal attempt).”

Herrington said he expects Wilkinson County’s size to be its biggest asset.

“They’re pretty formidable when it comes to size. They’ll throw the ball some. They have a pretty solid running back in No. 2 (Coleman). Defensively, they play physical so it’s going to be a physical ball game.”

It’s that defense Brown said he was most pleased with coming out of last week’s homecoming game win.

“We made stops when we needed to. Franklin County is a good running team. We put forth a better effort,” Brown said.

Brown added the offense needs to be more productive and score more points. Last week, the Wildcats were held scoreless by the Bulldogs in the second half.

Brown said the biggest challenge Jefferson County presents is its running game. The Tigers’ defense could be another.

“From watching them, they still look to be very athletic. They like to run the ball — use different formations. They line up in the pro set and run off tackle. They’ll run some counters. So we’ve got our hands full,” Brown said.

Herrington said for his team to pull a win Friday night, it needs to contain the ball.

“We definitely must take care of the football and limit the penalties,” he said. “If we do that, we’ll put ourselves in a position to win.”

Brown said a win at Jefferson County on homecoming night would be big as far as the Region 7-3A standings are concerned.

“That would give us an upper-hand in terms of (region) play, which is our main goal from here on out. It would be a big plus for us,” Brown said.