Jefferson County travels to Hazlehurst for region game

Published 12:02 am Thursday, October 19, 2017

After a stunning homecoming win two weeks ago, the Jefferson County High School Tigers will look to keep their momentum going when they hit the road this Friday to take on the Hazlehurst High School Indians in a pivotal MHSAA Region 7-3A game for both teams.

Kickoff between the Tigers (2-5, 1-1) and the Indians (6-2, 2-0) is set for 7 p.m.

Jefferson County rallied to beat the Wilkinson County Wildcats 16-15 back on Oct. 6. Tigers head coach James Herrington attributed the win to controlling the ball.

Email newsletter signup

“That was the goal going into the game. That’s always a main focal point. Turnovers and penalties in crucial times during the game,” Herrington said. “We had one crucial penalty that brought back a 60-yard run, but we did not turn the ball over. Hopefully we can grow off that game into the Hazlehurst game and cut down on the turnovers and limit the penalties.”

Herrington said the team was very spirited after that win and added that it was just a small portion of what the Tigers need to do to make the playoffs.

After having a week off, Herrington said the team has stayed focused in practice.

“We knew we had to get ready for Hazlehurst,” he said. “Regardless of the record, the guys have been up all season. We made sure that we pointed out that our losses have been because of the mistake we made.”

Hazlehurst dropped one spot in the Mississippi Associated Press Class 3A poll from No. 4 to No. 5 despite scoring 28 points in the second half to beat Wilkinson County last week, 34-12.

Herrington said the biggest challenges the Indians pose are its wing offense, as well as a physical and opportunistic defense.

“The wing is always a challenge for any team to face because you don’t see it from week to week. The accuracy with how Hazlehurst runs it, your defense has to be ready for it. It’s hard to simulate it in practice. It always poses a problem for anyone who faces it,” Herrington said.

Herrington noted that Hazlehurst’s defense forced Wilkinson County to turn the ball over seven times and nearly a half dozen punts.

“That’s 11 or 12 extra possessions. Offensively, we have to play defense as well by not turning the ball over. Going into the game, offensively it’s about sustaining drives and getting first downs,” Herrington said. “Defensively it’s about not giving up the big runs and making them drive the field. Making them have long drives — making sure they work for every score and every possession they have. Don’t give them anything easy.”