Hounds fall in battle for region title

The stingy defense won out over the high octane offense, but it was not easy.

Jones County’s bid for its first region title since 2001 fell short when the Stockbridge Tigers remained kings of Region 4-5A with a 27-17 victory over the Greyhounds in Friday night’s battle of unbeaten teams in Gray.

The third-ranked Tigers (9-0 overall, 7-0 region) clinched their fourth region title in a row and fifth in the last six seasons with the win against the fifth-ranked Greyhounds (8-1, 6-1).

Jones County must now defeat Dutchtown next Friday to finish second in the region and claim a home game in the first round of the state playoffs.

Stockbridge will host a game in the opening round of the state playoffs Nov. 10 as the region’s top seed no matter what happens in next week’s regular season finale against Union Grove at home.

The Tigers, who have four shutouts this season, entered Friday’s game giving up an average of just 3.9 points a game, best in the state.

The Greyhounds were averaging 42.5 points a game, third best in Class 5A, and had not scored fewer than 34 points all season.

Both team’s stats took a hit. The 17 points Jones County scored was well below its season average but was also the most allowed by the Tigers this season.

“They are a really good team, but we beat ourselves,” Jones County coach Justin Rogers said. “We started off great, but we couldn’t keep it going. We had too many unforced mistakes and penalties. But we can correct them and come back strong, but first we have to beat Dutchtown next week.”

Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley said much the same thing.

“It is good to get another region title. But both teams had too many unforced errors,” Whitley said. “We’ll be working to correct them so we can move forward in the playoffs.

“I think Jones County will also go deep in the playoffs. If we played them tomorrow, they might win 27-17. Our region has gotten a lot better in the last few years.”

The Greyhounds flew down the field to open the game, scoring on a 38-yard run by senior quarterback Teldrick Ross.

But the Tigers answered with touchdowns the first three times they had the ball to take control. First senior quarterback Gabriel Mckenzie hit senior Donovan Manuel for a 28-yard touchdown, then junior Yahsyn Mckee ran 57 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in the first quarter. Mckenzie completed his second touchdown pass, this one for 23 yards to senior Marquez Ezzard, early in the second quarter to boost the Stockbridge lead to 20-6.

Jones County tried to rally in the middle of the game. Josh Skinner kicked a 29-yard field goal late in the first half to make it 20-9. The Greyhounds kept Stockbridge at bay early in the second half and scored on a 65-yard run up the middle by senior Drake Bolus, adding a two-point conversion pass from Ross to Jontavias Robertson, to cut the lead to 20-17.

But the Tigers put the game away with a long drive that ended early in the second quarter with Mckee’s second touchdown run, this one for 7 yards, to make it 27-17.    

-- Chuck Thompson | chuck@jcnews



The Jones County News

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