After a slight delay and some bits of adjusting, the 2020 football season gets underway for Jones County on Friday when the Greyhounds host Grayson, a team with a lion’s share of power-5 verbal commitments and top-ten national ranking in at least one poll.
A week later, North Gwinnett comes calling to Greyhound Field.
In the two season-opening opponents, JCHS will get a gauge of how good it is against very stern competition. Both Grayson and North Gwinnett were in the 7A quarterfinals and have won a combined three championships in the past ten seasons.
The Greyhounds were originally set to host Northeast-Macon to begin the season, but when Bibb County Public Schools put athletic competition on hold, Jones County was in need of a new opponent. Enter the Rams, one of two 7A opponents for JCHS this year outside of region play.
It’s a challenge that the Greyhounds, who travel to Veterans Sept. 18 before starting region play, welcome. The Warhawks, by the way, finished second in GHSA Region 1-5A last year, advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
“We’re excited to play a high caliber of teams,” Jones County head coach Mike Chastain said. “We’re excited for them to have a chance to show what they can do.”
By classification alone, it represents a step up in competition for Jones County, which has in recent years played 6A non-region foes Northside-Warner Robins, Houston County and Lee County.
After a week off following the Veterans game, the Greyhounds will dive into region play, hosting Union Grove and visiting Stockbridge before another open date on Oct. 16. From there, JCHS hosts four home games in a row against Locust Grove, Ola, Eagle’s Landing and Woodland prior to closing out the regular season at Dutchtown.
The Greyhounds topped Dutchtown 27-22 last year, and the two teams actually tied for then region title. Jones County won out by virtue of that head-to-head win.
Dutchtown also reached the quarterfinals last year compared to JCHS, which was in the semifinals. If both post similar results this season, that Nov. 20 matchup on the road could be one of the bigger games to watch in the state that week.
Stockbridge deprived Jones County of a perfect regular season last year, handing the Greyhounds a 44-14 loss. The Greyhounds are banking on a more rigorous non-region schedule helping them as the season goes on. Last year, JCHS rolled over Howard, Baldwin and Northside-Warner Robins outside of region play.