Jackson County hopes to break a three-game skid Friday against a foe just as desperate to rid itself of its own losing ways.
The Oglethorpe County Patriots — under coach Larry Milligan — have endured some growing pains this fall in getting off to an 0-5 start.
“Larry has done a good job,” Jackson County coach Billy Kirk said. “He’s got a lot of young kids, kind of like we do.”
The game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Panther Stadium. This is only the third meeting between the schools and first since 1989. The series is tied 1-1.
Though the Patriots are winless, Kirk points out that his Panthers — who fell 54-8 to Elbert County last week (click here for story and here for photos)— have had their own struggles and expects Oglethorpe County (0-5, 0-2) to be eying opportunities in this game too.
“They’re looking at film on Jackson County and probably saying ‘here’s a chance to win,’” Kirk said.
The coach added that his team “will have to go out and play a great football game” to beat the Patriots, who are coming off a 39-12 loss to East Jackson.
Staring at three straight losses, the Panthers can improve the outlook of their season by simply getting back in the win column, Kirk said. Also at stake is an opportunity for Jackson County to notch its first subregion victory and get out of the subregion basement. The Panthers and Patriots are tied for last in 8B-AA with 0-2 records.
“We’ve got to get back on that winning train, no matter who you’re playing,” Kirk said.
Who’s playing quarterback is still in question as another option entered into the mix Friday.
Wide receiver-turned-signal-caller Tony Holton relieved newly-installed starter Jalen Banks against Elbert County and led the Panthers to a second-quarter touchdown drive.
Holton, who caught a touchdown pass against East Jackson earlier this year, transferred from Winder-Barrow to Jackson County for his senior year.
“He’s been a nice little addition,” Kirk said.
Holton finished with 91 yards passing against Elbert County and 39 more on the ground but was ultimately relieved by Banks in the fourth quarter.
Holton is the third different Panther to play quarterback this season. Kyle Daniel started Jackson County’s first four games before being replaced by Banks.
“(Holton) brings a different element to it,” Kirk said. “He’s dangerous. He can break one at any time.”
Holton and Banks will now battle this week in practice for the starting nod against Oglethorpe County.
“He showed some great things; Jalen showed some great things,” Kirk said. “We’re just going to evaluate it this week and see who gets it on Friday night.”
Whichever quarterback doesn’t start will play receiver.
While Kirk’s plan is to play whoever has the hot hand, he wants the quarterback issue resolved soon.
“I don’t want to have the two-headed thing,” Kirk said.