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Hounds rout Woodland, set up region-title clash

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    The Greyhounds defense comes up with a fumble on Friday, stopping a Woodland drive. BRAD HARRISON/Staff
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    Zion Ragins (13) stiff-arms a Woodland defender to pick up extra yards during Friday’s big win. BRAD HARRISON/Staff
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    Drew Jones (12) sacks the Woodland quarterback from behind, one of three first-quarter sacks registered by the Greyhound defense on Friday. BRAD HARRISON/Staff
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    Javious Bond (30) gets away from a few would-be tacklers to get into the end zone off a screen pass on Friday. BRAD HARRISON/Staff
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    Backup quarterback Connor Bass was among those getting into the game in the ser second half. He rushed for 41 yards. BRAD HARRISON/Staff ser
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    Tyler Stewart (3) looks for an opening as he gets near the goal line to set up a vice Greyhounds touchdown. BRAD HARRISON/Staff

The waiting is over, and it’s now official.

The Greyhounds will now have an opportunity that teams all over the state dream of. A season-finale on their home field with a region title on the line.

That’ll come on Friday when Jones County hosts Dutchtown. Both have identical records of 7-2 overall and 6-0 in region play. It’ll be a clash of extremes between the Greyhounds and Bulldogs. While Jones County boasts the region’s top offense, Dutchtown does likewise with its defense. Jones County has been held under 30 points just once and has scored 40 or more points in the past seven games. As for Dutchtown, the Bulldogs have given up more than eight points just once in the previous six games.

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Regardless of Friday’s result, both teams will host a home game in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAAA state playoffs.

“I think it’s the first time in 20 years that we’ve had a chance to play for a region championship on our home field,” Greyhounds head coach Mike Chastain said. “It’s going to be special.”

With a win against Dutchtown, however, Jones County would capture an unprecedented third region title in a row.

The Greyhounds roll into Friday’s matchup after breezing past Woodland Stockbridge 69-26 on Friday, scoring the second-most points in a single game in school history. Due to the large margin, the Greyhounds were able to rest most of their starters in the second half. The Greyhounds starting defense didn’t allow a touchdown until the final minutes of the first half.

The contest started roughly 30 minutes late due to the visiting Wolfpack arriving late due to travel delays. That meant that Jones County, which had already begun warm ups, did so and then spent an extended amount of time in the locker room. As for the Wolverines, Jones County made it look like Woodland had never even gotten off the bus with the way that the game began.

“Yeah, that kind of stunk a little bit. We treated it like a rain delay,” Chastain said of the delay. “The kids answered the call and were ready to play.”

The Greyhounds needed less than two minutes to seamlessly open the game by marching downfield to score on a two-yard run by Javious Bond, one of his three all-purpose touchdowns on Friday. Ahead 7-0, the Greyhounds defense showed that it was equal to the task, as well. A pair of sacks on the first Woodland drive set up a punt, which was muffed by the Wolfpack, setting up a short 15-yard drive ending on an eight-yard screen to Bond and 14-0 lead with 5:51 to play in the first quarter.

“Javious is a mismatch a lot of weeks,” Chastain said. “You don’t have offers from SEC schools without being a mismatch; he’s a really good player.”

As a defense, JCHS had three sacks in the first quarter.

“(Defensive coordinator Robert) Braucht and those guys did a great job of coming up with some things that they struggled with from watching (Woodland on) film,” Chastain said.

The offensive onslaught kept up. Yet another screen from quarterback John Alan Richter to Bond made it 21-0 with 2:01 to go in the first. A long offensive drive? The Greyhounds were up to that task, too. Starting from their own five-yard line, a 33-yard dump off to Bond turned into a touchdown and 28-0 lead. Bond had 82 yards receiving and 28 on the ground while Richter’s first half saw him go 14-of-18 for 172 yards.

The Greyhounds feasted on yet another Woodland miscue with just over five minutes to go in the half, as another bad punt snap gave JCHS a short field, leading to a one-yard run by Zion Ragins and 35-0 lead.

Even when Woodland got on the board with 1:21 left in the half, the Greyhounds had a big answer. This time it was on special teams on a 95-yard kickoff return by Ed Chester. It made the score 42-6 at halftime, allowing Chastain and his coaching staff to begin emptying the bench.

The Greyhounds offense continued to pound the ball and eat up the clock in the second half, and Ivan Jordan was the prime benefactor with four touchdown runs of one, two, four and 11 yards, running the ball down field with his bruising running style. Jordan was actually the Greyhounds leading rusher with 111 yards.