Jefferson County looks to hop in MHSAA Region 7-3A driver seat

Published 10:14 am Thursday, October 20, 2022

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FAYETTE — It has been three years since the Jefferson County High School Tigers ran the table in MHSAA Region 7-3A. And that was when Hazlehurst High School was still one of their region opponents.

Now Jefferson County has the same opportunity this season as it plays host to an up-and-down Tylertown High School team for homecoming with first place in Region 7-3A and the inside track to the region championship on the line.

Kickoff between Tylertown (4-4, 2-0) and Jefferson County (5-2, 2-0) is set for 7 p.m. While the Tigers had a bye week, the Chiefs shut out winless Wilkinson County High School at home 40-0 last Friday night.

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“This game has playoff implications. Our goal is to win district,” Tigers head coach Roderick Holmes said. “To have that opportunity in front of a home crowd is really amazing. Whoever wins this wins the district.”

Jefferson County last played on Friday, Oct. 7 when the Tigers held on to defeat Franklin County High School 30-28 to stay undefeated in region play. Holmes said having a bye last week helped his team in more ways than one.

“It gave us the opportunity to nurse some of our injuries. Gave us more time to study the opponent’s film. Also gave us some much-needed rest,” Holmes said. “I say much-needed rest because we have had several games come down to the last minute. So it actually gave us more time to prepare both physically and mentally.”

As for what the Tigers have been working on in practice this week for the Chiefs, Holmes said, “Basically just cleaning up the base plays on offense. Also, giving us an opportunity to break down their offense for our defensive purposes.”

Holmes said that Tylertown’s explosiveness on offense and aggressiveness is what concerns him the most about the Chiefs despite now being as dominant outside of region play as they have in years past.

“Offensively, their ability to make big plays. They spread your defense out. On defense, their mindset is they have the better athletes,” Holmes said.

Holmes added that quarterback Jabari Watson and running back JJ Claiborne, both juniors, will have to have a big game as well as the defensive backs.

“Jabari has to have a turnover-free game. JJ, he has to be big in the running game. The last game we really ran the ball was the beginning of the year against Natchez. He had over 200 yards,” Holmes said. “Defensively, our defensive backs. And not just one of them, but all four of them. They’re going to have to tackle in space.”