Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care of Business” may as well have been playing on Friday night at Greyhound Field because that’s exactly what Jones County did to firmly stay atop the GHSA Region 4-AAAAA standings.
The Greyhounds appeared to be sharply focused, easily dispatching of Eagles Landing in a 70-20 homecoming victory, not giving up a point until the closing seconds of the first half with the starters having already begun to be rotated out.
The game was well in hand by that point with the Greyhounds leading 56-0 on the strength of four Andrew Carner touchdown runs and a pair of touchdown passes by John Alan Richter. Carner rushed for 80 yards on 11 carries, averaging 7.3 yards per touch with Richter being 8-of-11 for 82 yards as he and backup quarterbacks Connor Bass and Solomon Burney combined to complete passes to eight different receivers.
The fast start came after a pre-game message to the Greyhounds with a coaching staff wary of Jones County’s last loss, 30-6, on Sept. 18 at Veterans.
“We challenged them right before the game and told them, `this is real similar to how prepared we looked when we went out pre-game for Veterans,” Jones County head coach Mike Chastain said. “I just challenged them to not let that happen again and go out there and get after it. They were ready to play right off the bat. We were very proud of that performance:’
The Greyhounds are now 5-3 overall, and most importantly, 5-0 in region play. They’ll host Woodland Stockbridge on Friday for senior night before ending the regular season a week later at Dutchtown. The next two JCHS opponents are currently within the top four of the region. At 3-2 in region play, Woodland’s two losses are to Dutchtown and second-place Ola with Dutchtown, 4-1 in region play, having its only region loss to Ola.
“Those are two teams that have played some really good ball. Woodland is very athletic,” Chastain said. “Hopefully we’ll keep playing the way we have the past few weeks and carry that over in these last two weeks of the season.”
The Greyhounds once again showcased their ground game from the start. Keeping the visiting Eagles off-balance with a steady diet of short passes, JCHS got a first-quarter rushing touchdown from Carner from two yards away, his first of the night. As a team, Jones County rushed for 245 yards.
Enter special teams. Drew Jones, one of the Greyhounds go-tos in short yardage in the red zone, made an impact, running in to block an Eagles Landing punt on its next drive, coming up with the loose ball to return it 20 yards for the touchdown and 14-0 lead. Then, it was time for Javious Bound to shine. He didn’t just break loose down the near sideline but he also fought off Eagles tacklers to fight his way into the end zone with 4:35 left in the first. The opening-quarter piled on with a 15-yard score by Carner, resulting in a 28-0 lead, putting JCHS well on its way.
Deon Richardson’s four tackles, a number totaled in one half before giving way to the JCHS backups, led the Greyhounds defensively as he was also one of four with at least one tackle for a loss, joining JaVorius Venerable, Noah Barnes and Jamarion Parker.
“When you score points and do what you’re supposed to do, it reassures the guys that we’re doing the right thing,” Chastain said.
The Greyhounds kept the pressure on. A 74-yard drive ended with a 17-yard pass from Richter to Tucker Mix, followed up with a six-yard touchdown pass to the end zone corner hauled in by Maleek Wooten. A pair of Caner runs, his third and fourth of the night, made it 56-0 just before halftime, with the latter of the two being set up by a Venerable interception. Venerable also had a fumble recovery earlier in the quarter the set up the score.
Jones County emptied its bench in the second half with Bass and Omarion Tucker taking advantage touchdown runs of 40 yards.