El Dorado News

November 14, 2018
El Dorado News Times

Junction City aiming for first 10-0 start since 2014

This article was published November 2, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

By Jason Avery

News-Times Staff

Having run roughshod over its first nine opponents, Junction City heads into its regular season finale eyeing a goal they haven’t accomplished in three years.

Tonight, the Dragons host Drew Central in a 6-3A contest aiming for a 10-0 start.

Game time is set for 7 p.m. from David Carpenter Stadium.

Junction City’s 2014 squad was the last team to start 10-0 en route to winning the school’s third straight 2A state title.

The 2017 edition of the Dragons (9-0, 6-0) have already sewn up the 6-3A title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and coach Steven Jones said starting 10-0 was a goal that was set at the beginning of the season.

“We definitely talk about it as a staff and we talk about it with our kids at the beginning of the season as a goal,” Jones said. “But we try to tier those goals. The first one is to win a conference title, and now that we were able to do that, our focus goes in to winning each playoff game, so we try not to look so far ahead and focus on what we have in front of us.”

The Pirates (2-7, 0-6) are out of playoff contention and have lost six straight after opening the season by winning two of their three non-conference games.

Although the Pirates have struggled, Jones had plenty of praise for his Week 10 opponent.

“Drew Central is very well-coached,” Jones said. “They do a lot of things right. The last couple of weeks, they’ve been in some games late. Offensively, they run the single wing, which is very old school and hard to prepare for. Just getting our scout team to mimic what they do will be a challenge, but we’ll give those guys the best look that we can and try to get ready for them.”

Jones added that preparing for the single wing will help his defense adjust to other offenses the Dragons might see in the playoffs.

“I think it prepares us more mentally just to be able to adjust, not necessarily just specifically for that offense, but to be able to adjust to things week to week, I think that helps us out,” Jones said. “With a single wing look, there’s not a lot of teams left out there that still run that, but definitely having to do something kind of different can help gain some focus.”

Junction City has been without several starters during the second half of the season, but Jones said the Dragons are continuing to get healthier.

“We’re getting more healthy,” Jones said. “We’ve got most of our guys back. We should have just about all of our starters back this week, and as we move forward, that’s definitely a positive to have going into the playoffs. Knock on wood, we’ll get out of Drew Central without any injuries and have some recuperate and have some time over the bye week and get ready to host a second-round game.”

Jones said the game would dictate how long his starters would play.

“We really don’t have a plan as far as the number of snaps we want our guys to get,” Jones said. “We do have a hope that we could get some other guys some valuable playing time, but we’ll let the game dictate that, and hopefully our guys play very well.”

By playing on Thursday night, Junction City’s coaching staff will get the chance to see potential playoff opponents in person, but Jones said it isn’t as simple as it would seem.

“I think originally a lot of teams set up Thursday games so they could go scout for the playoffs on Friday and see some of those teams in Week 10,” Jones said.

“A lot of teams have caught on to that, so it’s kind of hard to guess where you need to go on Friday night because about half of the teams in the state now play on Thursday night in just about all classifications. It was originally put in place to be able to go out and scout, but now it’s kind of a challenge because some of the teams you might want to see may be playing on Thursday night as well.”

Senior quarterback Shuvasceiaye Frazier was outstanding in his return to the Dragons, going 7-of-11 passing for 175 yards and two touchdowns while adding 169 yards and two scores on 13 carries at Fordyce.

Frazier, who missed the wins over Lake Village and Smackover due to an injury, threw both of his touchdown passes to Jalen Davis in the first quarter before scoring on a 21-yard run in the second quarter. His final touchdown came on a 21-yard run in the fourth quarter.

“He made a few mistakes early on, and I think that just had to do with not being out there in the last few weeks,” Jones said of Frazier. “But he got everything fixed and looked even better than he did two weeks ago. It was very impressive for him to come out, especially in the second half, to just take over after being out. I was very impressed with the way that he played.”

If the Dragons are to finish the regular season 10-0, Jones said his defense must stay disciplined.

“Defensively, we have to read our keys,” Jones said. “We have to be very disciplined on that side of the ball with that single wing attack. The misdirection can really throw you off, so reading our keys will be big on defense. Offensively, we just have to continue to be efficient and take care of the football and have those explosive plays.”

comments powered by Disqus