J.Z. George head Coach Ben Burton spent a lot of time meeting with players and coaches following last Friday's 28-15 loss to visiting West Bolivar High School.
He met with the senior players after the game, and then held a gathering for all players on Sunday afternoon. The discussion was real simple — play like this again and not many games will be won.
"It was just a total lack of focus from the beginning of the week to Friday night. We didn't have good practices all week long, and it showed in the game. It was nothing West Bolivar did. It was all us. We shot ourselves in the foot the entire game. I'm not putting this on any one player. As a team, we lost a game we should have won," said Burton.
After starting the season with back-to-back wins over McAdams and Hamilton and not turning the ball over in either game, the Jaguars lost four of seven fumbles and had one pass intercepted.
"I guess I shouldn't have talked about that as much as I did last week. It made a big difference. We had opportunities to score, but each time we put the ball on the ground. We were inside the red zone several times, and we failed to score because of miscues. We aren't good enough to win games with that many mistakes," the Jaguar head man added.
Burton points to the first series in the third quarter. Leading 7-6 at the half, the Jaguars drove down the field and got to West Bolivar's 16-yard line. On second and one, the ball was fumbled and the Eagles recovered. They went on to score, taking a 14-7 lead. J.Z. George came back and scored to lead 15-14 headed to the fourth period.
However, West Bolivar got two late scores to prevail by 13.
"We had a few penalties that were costly as well. We lined up in the wrong formation several times. That's simple stuff. We've been going over that since early August. It was all mental. Everything we did we did to ourselves," Burton said. "We've got to rebound and get focused because the guys all know who we are playing this week. Winona is going to present a major challenge. We need for our seniors to step up and lead this team."
The Jaguars continued to be led offensively by the tailback-fullback tandem of Deriaun Townsend and Jacob Johnson, Townsend, a sophomore, rushed for 159 yards on 19 carries, and Johnson, a junior, gained 128 yards and scored both touchdowns on 12 carries. He also had a 2-point conversion run.
Wil'tavious Williams led the defense for the Jaguars with 10 total tackles (five solos, five assists). Antwon Granderson had six solos and one assist, and Keyshawn Daniels had four solos and three assists.
D'Anthony McGlothan chipped in with five tackles, and Preston Clardy had four tackles. Johnson had three stops.
J.Z. George and Winona High School kick off Friday at 7 p.m. in Winona. The Tigers are led by senior quarterback An'darius Coffey, who has verbally committed to Ole Miss as a defensive back. He is one of the top players in the state.
"We will have our work cut off for us. Our kids know Coffey is going to get his carries and do it all for them on offense. It comes down to carrying out our assignments and staying focused," said Burton.