Rusty Smith will take the win, no matter how ugly.
J.Z. George picked up its second victory of the young season as it beat Central Holmes Christian School 27-0 last Friday to move to 2-1 overall.
“We had a lot of penalties, and we still started out flat. It was homecoming, so I don’t think everybody was as focused as they needed to be,” said Smith. “That is something we’ve got to get better at. We need to be ready to go when we get off the bus. I’m very strict on them about talking on the bus if we’re on the road. I want them thinking about what it is they have to do during the game for us to be successful.”
The Jaguars hit the road Friday to take on Leake County High School, which is located in Walnut Grove. The Class 1A Gators are 0-3 overall and have been outscored 112-8 in their first three games.
“They are not a bad team, but they have had bad luck,” added Smith. “They will drive 70 yards down the field and then fumble the ball. They have played some good small-ball teams like Lumberton and Puckett. They have a few good players and seem to play hard. We definitely can’t go down there and play flat.”
The Jaguars took an 8-0 lead against Central Holmes when junior D’Anthony McGlothan took a handoff and raced 39 yards to the end zone. Using a little trickery on the conversion, fullback Wil’Tavious Williams threw a pass to quarterback Jordun Normal for the two-pointer.
Later in the second quarter, McGlothan, who plays safety on defense, picked off a Central Holmes pass and returned it 95 yards to the end zone. The PAT was true and J.Z. George led 15-0 at the half.
“D’Anthony came prepared to play,” Smith said. “He wasn’t focused the week before against Winona, but he was a different player last week. That’s what we are looking for out of all of our players.”
McGlothan finished with 105 yards rushing on three carries, and he had eight solo stops and four assists on defense.
Normal got in on the scoring act in the second half with a 14-yard scamper to put the Jaguars up 21-0. Lineman JaDarius Fluker recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the fourth period to make it 27-0.
“I wasn’t pleased with the way we were playing in the first half,” the first-year coach said. “I got a little fiery with them at the half, and I believe they came out and responded in the second half.
“We’ve still got to get better all the way around. Plain and simple, we’ve got to block better, we’ve got to run to the ball better on defense, and we’ve got to get better on special teams.”
Williams led the J.Z. George defense with a solid game from his middle linebacker position. He had 10 solo stops and five assists. Kendarius Head had seven solo tackles and four assists, and linebacker Jacob Johnson had six solos and two assists.
JaDarius Fluker tacked on eight total tackles (three solos, five assists), and linebacker Thomas Perry had four solos and three assists. Normal had five solos and an assist, and Alexander Criss and Josh Newman had three solos and two assists apiece.
Alan Busby and Daravion Seals had four tackles each. Brandon McKenzie, Colten Brashear and Lake Shute had three tackles each.
The Gators dropped a 52-8 decision to Lumberton last week. They opened the season with a 26-0 loss to Puckett, and then fell 34-0 to Resurrection Catholic on Sept. 11.
“I feel like we are headed in the right direction,” Smith said. “We are making improvements each week, and winning builds confidence. I see several guys getting better, but we still have some who we are waiting on to have breakout games.”