Jones County football head coach Justin Rogers will admit that the task facing his team is fairly daunting.
The Greyhounds travel to Marietta for a GHSA Class AAAAA second-round matchup Friday with Kell, a team that advanced to the semifinals last year and is undefeated this year. But Rogers feels like his team is battle-tested and ready for the challenge.
“Kell has a great football program, but we feel like we have been tested the entire year by playing Northside and Warner Robins and Houston County, and all of the rest of Region 2-AAAAA,” said Rogers, whose team beat Carver-Columbus in the first round. “We are hoping to benefit from the tough schedule that we have played, and at this point of the season, everyone is pretty good.
“I know that we are on the road, but the way the community supports us, I am sure that we will have a huge crowd travel to Marietta to watch us play. The way our fans travel helps us every time we go on the road.”
Jones County has relied on its high-powered offense for most of the year, but in the first round, the defense came up big, allowing only 12 points in a one-point win.
“The defense played lights out, and we expect them to continue that great play,” Rogers said. “When you get to the state playoffs, it’s tough to put 30 or 40 points on the board, and it’s more like a battle of field position. We had great performances from Zack Griffin, Alex Parkerson, Davin Price and Torrez Finney, but really it was more of a total team effort. Plus it doesn’t hurt to be able to count on points when you are trying to kick field goals.”
Greyhounds place-kicker Wade Carr was a difference-maker against Carver, hitting first-half field goals from 25 and 42 yards. He also made his only extra point. Meanwhile, Carver missed two extra points, giving Jones County the close win.
Carr has made 8-of-11 field goals this season.
“I have been a part of some teams that couldn’t kick field goals, and having Wade makes it a lot easier to coach, because we know if we get close, he can give us three points,” Rogers said. “Carver had field position several times to where they could have tried field goals, but they had to go for it instead. Fortunately our defense came up big for us.”
Jones County has terrific skill players on offense, led by sophomore quarterback Bradley Hunnicutt, who has thrown for 2,300 yards and 17 touchdowns. Nick Singleton has turned into a big-play receiver with 58 receptions for 981 yards, while the running game, led by Chandler Ramage with 883 yards and 12 touchdowns, also has been potent.
“Carver was able to take away our deep throws, but that is something we will continue to try,” Rogers said. “I have faith that we can put up points against anyone. Kell should be another great test for us.”