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Junction City hits road to take on Lake Village

by Jason Avery | September 9, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.

Prior to their Week 1 contest at Lafayette County, Junction City’s offense had been held scoreless through its benefit game against Hamburg and Week 0 clash against Harmony Grove.

Just under five minutes into their meeting with the Cougars, the Dragons had their first points of the season on a Decoreon Dubose 20-yard touchdown pass to Jay Carter.

That started an avalanche of offense that culminated in a 52-28 win.

Now the Dragons are aiming to build off of last week’s showing with a road tilt at Lake Village on Friday.

Game time is set for 7 p.m.

The Beavers (0-2) have opened the season with a 41-6 loss to Haskell Harmony Grove and a 49-20 loss to Hamburg last week.

The schools met last year in Junction City with the Dragons (1-1) rolling up 433 yards of total offense en route to a 54-8 win.

One name the Dragons will have to keep an eye on is running back Aquavious Dunbar, who is drawing plenty of college interest.

“The thing that stands out is they’ve got some very talented receivers and running backs,” Junction City coach David Carpenter said. “They do a lot of different things. Last year when we played them, they were running the Dead-T. This year, they spread out from sideline to sideline and throwing the ball using the speed that they have to try to get to the edge as fast as they can, and use their speed at the receiver positions to try to get you out of position real fast to catch the long ball.”

On defense, Carpenter said the Beavers have changed their look in their two games.

“Against their previous opponents, they’ve run two different schemes,” Carpenter said. “Since they played Hamburg last week and they lined up in a 50, an odd-looking front, we figured since Hamburg and us do so many similar-type things that that’s what we’ll see out of these guys.”

The Beavers will also be one of the most athletic teams the Dragons will face in 2022.

“That’s the thing that catches your eye real fast is they do so many things geared around two of their guys,” Carpenter said. “You’ve got to be ready for a lot of different things. They’re very talented. They do what they do very well. When you watch film and you see the big backs running, and then all of a sudden you see the big backs out catching passes, we’ve got to really pay attention to where alignment is and how everybody is set and different offensive formations to be able to adjust our defense to what they’re trying to do.”

Last week’s win over the Cougars was a vintage one for the Dragons.

Junction City racked up 473 yards of total offense with 371 of those yards coming on the ground.

After Dubose’s touchdown pass to Carter, Junction City’s final seven touchdowns all came on the ground.

Junction City finished with 30 first downs with 25 of those being picked up on the ground.

“That’s basically what happened,” Carpenter said, adding that he wanted to thank the fans who made the trip to Lafayette County last week. “We had gone out and started with all of our passing stuff trying to get them loosened up over on the defensive side. We were able to score our first one off of that, and then after that, we came back and started running it. We rushed for over 350 yards, so our offensive line has improved each week, and they improved for us the other night on what we’re trying to do. 

“It really paid off because our backs were able to hit the holes and run and cover a lot of ground for us. We didn’t have many long runs, which is fine because the more plays that we run, the clock is still running and we have control of the football. That’s what we’re trying to do, and that’s what we were able to do the other night.

“The score was a little misleading on what they had because we gave up a special teams touchdown, and then we fumbled and let them score another touchdown, so you take 12 points away from that and the defense did a pretty good job for us.”

Jordavion Williams had a big night, finishing with 251 yards and two scores on 31 carries for the Dragons.

“The things that Lafayette was giving us and with the blocking of our line and Hayden Hudson back there really set us where we were able for him to cover a lot of ground,” Carpenter said. “It paid off for us big time.”

Dubose added three rushing touchdowns to finish with four overall in the game, while Hayden Hudson added 67 yards and a pair of scores on nine carries.

“It helps tremendously to get a win,” Carpenter said. “It gives the guys more confidence in what all of us are trying to do. They have more confidence in us as a coaching staff, and in return, it’s the same way with them. We feel like now we’re able to go ahead and add several more things to the offense that we’ve been kind of holding on to see how everything was going. With the way they’re starting to pick everything up, it’s really going to help us out.”

But while Carpenter was certainly happy with the win, there were some miscues that his team needs to correct.

“There’s still way too many mistakes that we made,” Carpenter said. “Missed blocking assignments and all of that good stuff that offensive-type guys look at and see when we’re going through the film. Once again, we’ll point out all of those things and the guys just go, ‘I see what I did wrong and what you were talking about.’ It’s the same thing on the defensive side. With the speed that Lafayette had, we told the guys that Lake Village is going to be similar and if we make these mistakes with the defensive front, the same thing is going to happen.

“We’re going to give up a big play or a touchdown, so those are the things that we’re going to work on this week. Once again, trying again to correct what we did wrong and then improve upon what we did well. It’s a good problem to have because all of our mistakes are correctable, and the more that we play, the more that the guys are understanding what all is going on.

“We’re so young all over the field that with each game played and each practice taken care of, they just understand and see just a little bit more about what’s trying to happen. That’s what we’re looking for.”

For the Dragons to pick up their second straight win on the road, Carpenter said mistakes must be avoided.

“Eliminate the mistakes that we’ve made,” Carpenter said. “The missed tackles over on the defensive side and the missed alignment against certain formations. On the offensive side, we’ve got to continue to improve on what we did the other night and not make the little mistakes that we did. With the baby step thing, we’re still slow stepping and getting to that point. We just got to get out there and get ready to play.”

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