Jefferson County, Franklin County prepare for Thursday night games

Published 4:01 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2020

WOODVILLE — Two area teams will collide when the Wilkinson County High School Wildcats host the Jefferson County High School Tigers for homecoming in a key MHSAA Region 7-3A game for both teams.

Jefferson County improved to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in Region 7-3A after a sloppy 12-0 win over rival Port Gibson High School last Friday. Wilkinson County played its first game of the season last week and lost at Franklin County High School 24-8.

While Tigers head coach James Herrington was not pleased with his team’s performance in their win over a Port Gibson team that was playing its first game of the season, Wildcats first-year head coach Jeffery Gibson said there were some positives to take away from his team’s performance against Franklin County.

“Our defense played well. It was 16-8 most of the game and they scored late in the fourth quarter. I was pleased with our kids’ effort,” Gibson said. “They didn’t quit. It was cool, so we didn’t have very much cramping. That was my only concern – conditioning.”

During practice this week, Gibson said his team has been working on fixing the mistakes that it made last week. The Wildcats gave up a safety and a kickoff return on an onside kick by the Bulldogs.

“Being it was our first game, we didn’t know (what we were in for). Franklin County capitalized on some early mistakes. They got two early onside kicks. We threw an interception. We fumbled the ball. We weren’t very good offensively,” Gibson said.

For Wilkinson County to come out with an upset victory, Gibson said the Wildcats will have to limit the turnovers.

“We had five turnovers. We can’t make those mistakes against Jefferson County. Execution on the offensive line. Execution on offense. Special teams have to play well. Offense has to play well,” Gibson said. “Jefferson County had a good team. They have a good quarterback and good receivers. So we’ll have to play sound football.”

Especially considering two things — it’s still Wilkinson County’s homecoming game and the game has been pushed up a day due to Hurricane Delta.

“Our young men have been working hard with a short week. I feel pretty good about how our guys have been able to execute and take care of business,” Gibson said.

Wilkinson County standouts to watch for are defensive lineman Jeffrey Anderson, outside linebacker Justin Smith, inside linebacker Gregory Woodard, running back/wide receiver Keinorriss Anderson, running back/wide receiver Donavan Jackson, and center Trelin Miles.

Jackson had a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown for the Wildcats in the first quarter and Gibson said Keinorris Anderson “showed signs of greatness” last week.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday at Wilkinson County High School.

 Franklin County at Hazlehurst

MEADVILLE — Franklin County High School will be on the road when it takes on Hazlehurst High School in an MHSAA Region 7-3A game.

Franklin County is coming off a 24-8 win over Wilkinson County that improved its record to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in region play. Hazlehurst last played on Sept. 25, a 6-0 loss at Newton High School that dropped the Indians to 1-3 overall. This will be their first region game of the season.

B.J. Smithart, Franklin County head coach, said he was pleased with the Bulldogs hanging and finding a way to win in last week’s game against Wilkinson County.

“Offensively, we’ve got to not have so many negative ways,” Smithart said. “Defensively, keep playing like they’re playing. Keep playing hard and moving to the football.”

Smithhart said the Bulldogs have been working on the fundamentals, such as blocking and tackling, in getting prepared for Hazlehurst.

“We’re working on a couple of scheme things for our defense this week. Working on things defensively to stop their I-formation,” Smithhart said.

Smithhart said that turnovers will be one of the keys to victory for his team. He added that the field at Hazlehurst may be sloppy because of incoming rain possibly from the outer feeder bands from Hurricane Delta.

“Create big plays (on offense) and stop their big receivers from making big plays,” Smithhart said. “They have a lot of speed. A lot of grittiness. They’re really well-coached.”

Standouts to watch for Franklin County are Ja’marlin Green at quarterback and linebacker as well as Tyler Seals on the offensive and defensive lines.

Kickoff between the Bulldogs and the Indians is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday at Hazlehurst High School.