J.Z. George looks to rebound from its second consecutive loss as the Jaguars head to Lexington to face the Trojans of Central Holmes Christian School Friday at 7 p.m.
The Jaguars (2-2 overall) are coming off a 34-14 loss to Winona High School. Although it was a 20-point difference to the Tigers, J.Z. George head Coach Ben Burton wasn't completely disappointed.
"For the most part, the effort was good. We still have places where we need to get a lot better. I'm pleased with the backs and the way the offensive line has held up, but we've got to do a better job in the passing game. All of that is not necessarily on the quarterback. We only threw for one yard last week," said Burton.
"Jordun (Normal) had his best passing game of the season. He only threw seven passes, but we didn't help him at catching the ball. We've got to be able to throw for 70 or so yards to complement our run game."
The Jaguars generated 325 yards of total offense against the Tigers with 324 of that coming on the ground. Sophomore running back Deriaun Townsend continued to impress as he rushed for 228 yards on 22 carries and scored one touchdown. Junior fullback Jacob Johnson bulled his way for 104 yards on 16 carries and had a 2-point conversion run.
Normal had a short rushing touchdown in the first quarter, which actually gave the Jags an early 6-0 lead. He was just 1 of 7 for one yard in the passing department.
Winona led 7-6 after the first period and pulled ahead 13-6 at the half. The Tigers led 20-6 in the third, but J.Z. George got a 65-yard run from Townsend and a 2-pointer from Johnson to pull within six at 20-14 headed to the fourth quarter. Winona scored twice in the fourth.
"We had an opportunity to score right before the half after holding the ball for nearly six minutes, and we failed to get in the end zone. If we could have scored there and got a conversion, it's a different game at the half," Burton added. "By the fourth quarter, our guys were tired. Our lack of depth showed. Winona was able to play 11 different guys on both sides of the ball. We don't have a lot of guys going both ways, but in this heat, it made a difference.
"Winona ran 52 plays and our defensive line was wore out. I thought we battled with them pretty well. We slowed them down on several occasions, but our mistakes and penalties hurt us. We've got to play smarter. A lot of people were shocked at how well we played against Winona. We moved the ball on them. Look at what Deriaun and Jacob did. We just need to continue to run the ball effectively and improve our passing game."
The Jags' defense was spearheaded by the play of sophomore free safety D'Anthony McGlothan. He finished with 16 solo stops and three assists.
Junior defensive end Wil'tavious Williams had four solo stops, three assists and a sack. Senior linebacker Keyshawn Daniels had four solos, three assists and a fumble recovery, and senior cornerback Malik Branch had four solos and two assists.
The Jaguars will be playing Central Holmes for the first time on the football field.
"They contacted me last year about playing a game. It made sense to play them. It's a short trip and should be a game we can be competitive in," said Burton. "We match up with them well. We are probably deeper than they are, and we hope to take advantage of our fresh legs. They are going to get a dose of Deriaun and Jacob."
The Trojans are 2-3 overall and 0-2 in District 2-3A. They are coming off a 27-11 loss to Indianola Academy. Central Holmes is coached by Jim Crowder, a former assistant at Pillow Academy.