JACKSON COUNTY coach Billy Kirk believes Friday’s 37-0 loss to Walnut Grove has sufficiently gotten his players’ attention as they prepare for Fannin County this week.
The riled Panthers host the Rebels on homecoming night this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a wake-up call,” Jackson County coach Billy Kirk said. “I think a lot of the kids who watched the film and came away saying, ‘Ooh, we looked bad.’”
The Panthers (1-1), who beat Walnut Grove 21-3 last year, were held to -4 yards on the ground and just 33 total yards in their first loss of the year. It all added up to a forgettable evening for the Panthers.
“It was a very bad night for us in every phase,” Kirk said.
Kirk hopes his Panthers can learn from the lopsided loss with Friday’s region cross-over game against 8-AA North foe Fannin County looming. Kirk said his team will have to get ready for a physical brand of football.
“Their MO is physical, blue-collar football,” Kirk said of Fannin County. “They’re not going to be anything other than that.”
As for this past Friday, Walnut Grove, playing its third year of football, led 12-0 at the half and then broke the game open with 18 points in the third quarter. Kirk points to the opening sequence of the game, during which Jackson County fumbled the ball to Walnut Grove and Warriors scored immediately to take a 6-0 lead.
“It just went downhill from there,” Kirk said.
Kirk, who said he takes full blame for the loss, pointed to a lack of execution, effort and enthusiasm.
“It was very, very frustrating,” he said. “For the fans and the community, I’m sure it was frustrating as well.”
Though the Panthers lost to a relatively new Walnut Grove program, Kirk said that this wasn’t your typical third-year team — noting that the Warriors had talented players and more seniors than Jackson County.
“We knew two years ago when we scheduled this game that 2010 was going to be a game that we should win and that 2011 was going to be a much tougher game.”
All that said, Jackson County’s non-region loss to Walnut Grove essentially hurt only its pride. Actual subregion play — the games that determine if the Panthers go to state — won’t start until next week (against East Jackson).
Jackson County has gone back to work since Friday with a new resolve, holding a Monday morning practice on Labor Day.
“We’re not going to change what we do because of a loss,” Kirk said.
Jackson County prepares for a Fannin County team that operates out of the wishbone offensively and base out of a 4-4 defensive scheme.
Kirk said playing a physical team like Fannin County, which won the North side of the region last year, helps get the Panthers ready for play in 8-AA South.
It’s also a gut-check for a squad who is out to prove that last week’s game was an aberration.
“It’s like one of our coaches said, we’re getting a check-up to find out what we’re all about,” Kirk said.
Concerned JC parent
09/08/11 at 06:02 PM
Just one question and one question only:
How long must we sit back and give Coach Kirk the head coach job? His record doesn't lie folks.
2008: 1-8-1 (win and tie against single A schools)
2009: 4-6 ( 2 wins against single A schools)
I don't know about you, but I'm ready for at least a winning season at JC.
09/09/11 at 04:35 PM
2009 was the key year. Look it up! Howe, Holton, Williams, Waycaster, Spanks, Crawford, Tallent, Sticher, Perez, Brown etc. A truly loaded team.
That was the best collective group of JC athletes in recent memory. It's not even open for debate. 4-6 (including wins over Our Lady of Mercy and Prince Avenue) tells a story.