Jackson County figures the best way to shake off a disappointing scrimmage is to play well in the game that actually counts.
The Panthers await Friday’s season opener with Johnson-Gainesville following an error-filled 20-14 preseason loss to Athens Christian.
“We definitely have a lot of work to do … Granted, the result isn’t want we wanted but we did some good things,” senior Jackson County safety Alex Crawford said.
Crawford said the team will continue to focus on its assignments and game plan as it prepares for the real thing.
“If we would have played like we practiced, the result would have been a lot different,” Crawford said, referring to the scrimmage.
As for Johnson, Jackson County expects to see a big, physical team coming into Panther Stadium. The Knights went 3-7 last year as members of Region 8-AAA.
“We’ve got to fix us to get ready for Johnson,” coach Billy Kirk said. “Johnson is a big, athletic team. Last year our (opening schedule was) Our Lady of Mercy, Sonoraville, Prince Avenue.
We’ve stepped our schedule up where we’ve got Johnson, Walnut Grove and then Fannin County. So we’ve got to fix Jackson County to get ready.”
Jackson County enters the Johnson game no longer searching for a starting quarterback. Kirk announced Monday that sophomore Kyle Daniel won the job over junior Jalen Banks, who started the last six games of the 2009 season.
“I think they’re both mature enough to handle where we’re at,” Kirk said.
But Daniel had the better scrimmage Friday, Kirk concluded, after film review.
Though both quarterbacks had their struggles with a combined four interceptions, Daniel helped direct a nice drive inside the Athens Christian red zone in the second quarter before a Panther fumble killed it.
“He graded out better,” Kirk said. “We’re just looking at simple numbers … We just feel like we’re going to be more productive that way.”
That doesn’t mean no playing time at all for Banks, who had third-quarter touchdown runs of 51 and 10 yards against Athens Christian’s backups. Regardless of who got the starting nod for game one, Kirk has plans for the no. 2 quarterback, too.
“I think Jalen is going to get some reps,” Kirk said.
In the meantime, Jackson County will seek to repair what was a sputtering offense Friday.
Kirk joked that he needed a blood transfusion following the scrimmage “because our offense was so anemic.”
That performance included six procedure penalties and five turnovers, not to mention too many bad reads and bad receiver routes, Kirk said.
“The good thing about the way this is set up, is that you get a week to fix your mistakes,” Kirk said.
Kirk was more encouraged with the Panther defense, which gave up just 114 total yards. The coach noted that the defensive unit was put in some bad spots by Panther turnovers.
“Our defense, they did a great job,” Kirk said after the scrimmage. “They played on this side (Jackson County’s side) of the 30 (yard line) all night.”
Facing Athens Christian’s Wing-T offense should also help the Panther defense prepare for what it will see on many Friday nights.
“A lot of teams in our region run this offense, and it’s good to scrimmage a team that runs the offense,” Crawford said.
Jackson County linebacker Kelly Moates tries to drag down an Athens Christian ball carrier by the shirt tail in Friday’s scrimmage.
Jackson County running back Austin McDonald looks for his hole during the Panthers’ Friday scrimmage with Athens Christian.
Jackson County corner back K.J. Washington tackles an Athens Christian ball carrier
deep in Panther territory Friday.
You are a pathetic human, it's highschool football? What are you so upset about? If you're a player then quit, if you're a parent make your child quit, if you're a fan then pick another team to pull for, but stop bad mouthing our coach, our players, and our team!(by that I mean those of us who do like Kirk, our son's, and the Panthers!) Take your trash somewhere else.