GRAY -- Jones County already has played the top team in the state and, at the time, the No. 7 team in the state, in GHSA Class AAAAA.
The Greyhounds lost by 28 and 20 points, and their other loss is to the then-No. 9 team in Class AAAA.
Lakeside-Evans is a very rare visitor to the polls, but Jones County will need to play well against the Panthers after losses to Northside, Warner Robins and Mary Persons.
We havent been beaten by slouches, by any means, Jones County head coach Dwight Jones said about the three teams that are 20-1. Weve been beaten by good football teams.
Lakeside-Evans not being on that level doesnt mean the Greyhounds cant treat the Panthers like theyre on that level when the teams meet Friday night. Jones County is 4-3 overall and 2-2 in Region 2-AAAAA while Lakeside is 5-2 and 3-1.
Any time we have the opportunity to score, weve got to score, Jones said. If we dont, well get our butt beat.
Both have completed half of the Houston County gauntlet. Northside thumped Lakeside 54-26 on Sept. 28 and Jones County 49-21 last week. The Greyhounds lost 34-14 three weeks ago to Warner Robins, which ends the regular season at Lakeside.
That might be an advantage for Jones County, which closes the season with Houston County (4-3, 2-2) and Grovetown (1-6, 0-4).
Having Northside in the rearview mirror is a good thing, either way.
I told my coaching staff its probably the biggest team Ive ever coached against, on both sides of the ball, Jones said of the Eagles. And Ive been doing it a long time.
The Panthers have the momentum of a three-game winning streak, with blowouts over Grovetown (58-20) and Greenbrier (56-0) sandwiching a comeback thriller over Houston County (21-20).
Lakesides other loss is to Statesboro, 25-15 to open the season.
They run the (shotgun) with some pistol looks. theyre going to give you two backs and come back and give you twins, Jones said. I mean, its just multiple looks. Theyve got a lot of different sets, and they do a good job.
What happens is you say, OK, Im going to stop the pass, and then all of a sudden, theyre going to take one of those little backs that can fly, and theyre going to get him through the middle on either a counter play or a trap play or a power play. And then youre looking at him from the back side. Thats not a good thing to be doing.
The Greyhounds get running back Walker Juhan back Friday. He was seventh last week in the area in rushing but sat out to rehab a recurring ankle problem.
Region 2-AAAA is a serious traffic jam, with three 2-2 teams and two 3-1 teams, all looking up at 4-0 Northside.
Weve got to put a complete 48-minute game together for the next three games for us to have a chance to do what we need to do, Jones said. Youve got to start Friday night.