It wasn't a good week for the J.Z. George football team for several reasons.
The Jaguars were eliminated from postseason consideration as they dropped a 36-22 decision to Bruce High School last Thursday in Bruce.
Because of an altercation at the school on Monday, Oct. 21, in which several football players were involved in, five were suspended and therefore not eligible to play against Bruce. To make matters worse, two players quit the team.
"We had some stuff happen during the week that hindered us last week. We had a couple quit and five (starters) were involved in the altercation. It's hard to replace five starters. To have two quit this late in the season was just as upsetting," said J.Z. George head coach Ben Burton.
Burton also said that running back Deriaun Townsend, who played the entire game, twisted an ankle, the same one he's been playing on for more than half of the season. With his backup suspended, he had to stay in the game, although not 100 percent.
Townsend still put together a solid night as he rushed for 149 yards and two scores on 25 carries.
"Deriaun got banged up on the first play of the second quarter. He just wasn't the same after the injury," said Burton. "We didn't have a backup available, and we also didn't have a passing threat with one of our top receivers out. Deriaun got the ball a lot, and Jacob (Johnson) got more carries, but he also had a problem hanging on to the ball."
The Jaguars hurt themselves with miscues. They fumbled the ball 10 times, losing six. Also, quarterback Jordun Normal tossed one interception and was 3 of 7 for 12 yards.
Johnson had 92 yards on 14 carries and scored one touchdown and had a two-point conversion run.
Bruce, which improved to 4-6 overall and 1-2 in Region 2-2A, trailed 6-0 after the first quarter as Townsend scored his first touchdown. In the second period, the Trojans scored twice to lead 14-6 at the half. Bruce held a 13-8 scoring edge in the third frame and a 9-8 advantage in the fourth. Johnson scored on a 43-yard run for J.Z. George in the fourth quarter.
"Before Deriaun got hurt, they could not slow us down. We scored in four plays on our first drive, and we got to their 15 on our second drive and fumbled the ball away," said Burton. "Nothing against Bruce because their kids played hard, but it's hard for any team to overcome six lost fumbles and an interception. We've played well at times this season and been in several games that we should have won, but we've got to learn how to overcome adversity."
The J.Z. George defense was led by Wil'tavious Williams and Antwon Granderson, who both had nine total tackles. Williams, a junior end, also had a quarterback sack and recovered a fumble. Granderson caused a fumble.
Zauntavion Easterwood and PJ Archie had four tackles each. Archie also recovered a fumble. Normal and D'kevian Townsend had three tackles each.
The Jaguars, who are 3-7 overall and 0-3 in region play, close out their season Friday with a home contest against Calhoun City, which is 6-3 and 3-0.
East Webster, which plays Bruce Friday, is 2-1 in district. Those two teams, along with Calhoun City and Eupora, will represent Region 2 in the state 2A playoffs.
"We've got one more game. Calhoun City hasn't lost a division game in two years, and nobody expects us to compete against them. We want to send our eight seniors out on a positive note and build on next year," Burton said.