After squaring off with Spring Hill and Woodlawn in the first three weeks of the season, Parkers Chapel continues its run through the 2A South against a team that has aspirations of returning to Little Rock.
The Trojans host Mountain Pine, the 2A state runner-up to Strong last year, Friday night at Victor Nipper Stadium to finish a three-game homestand.
Game time is set for 7 p.m.
The Trojans (0-3) have been downed by Woodlawn and Spring Hill twice, including a 34-6 setback last week.
The Red Devils (2-0) topped Fountain Lake 22-14 in their opener before rolling to a 38-16 win over Rector last week.
Junior quarterback Jonah Wilburn has thrown six touchdown passes in his first two games, and he threw for 189 yards a week ago.
Senior Isaiah Miles had a big game last week, racking up 94 yards and a touchdown on just three carries while adding a pair of scores and 84 yards on his two catches.
Senior Jermaine Dobbins also had a big game last week, tallying 96 yards and two scores on 11 carries while his lone catch against Rector resulted in a 75-yard touchdown.
Overall, the Red Devils finished with 430 yards of total offense against Rector.
“They’re definitely a run-pass threat,” Parkers Chapel coach Elliot Jacobs said of the Red Devils. “They’ll get into some heavy stuff and try to run it down your throat. They’ll spread it out and use their speed. Their quarterback is a guy that can sling it a little bit, but he’s very fast. No. 4 (Dobbins) is one of the faster kids we’ll see all year. They’ve got a couple of other receivers. They’ve got a lot of team speed that they put on the field.”
When asked to compare the Red Devils to Woodlawn and Spring Hill, Jacobs said they have a mixture of the two.
“They’ve probably got what Woodlawn and Spring Hill are good at,” Jacobs said. “Woodlawn has got some speed, Spring Hill is more of a power team, Mountain Pine has a little bit of both.”
Defensively, the Red Devils are led by Dobbins, who has two sacks, as well as fellow senior James Glasco, who had nine tackles last week and has three tackles for a loss so far this season.
Last week against Rector, the Red Devils had three sacks and six tackles for a loss.
“It’s the same thing,” Jacobs said. “They’re going to man you up, load the box and say our athletes are better than you. For us to be successful offensively, we’ve got to win some one-on-one matchups and be able to make people miss in our running game, something we’ve struggled with the last couple of weeks. We’ve got to do a good job in practice of knowing what our weaknesses are and how to overcome them.”
Although the Trojans fell to Spring Hill for a second time, Jacobs liked what he saw from his defense.
“Defensively, we did enough to win,” Jacobs said. “A few busted assignments, but again, you hold a team in eight-man to 20-something points, that should be enough to win the game. Offensively, we’re not getting it done. We’re not able to run the ball and we didn’t make the throws and catches that we needed to. We thought Jaylen Gray did a great job for us in that aspect, but other people have got to step it up and make plays.”
Jacobs said the front line has been stout in slowing down the running game of the opposition.
“Our defensive line continues to be the anchor of our team,” Jacobs said. “Elijah Brown, Truss Holloway, Isaiah Gray, those three do a great job of shutting down the other team’s run game, especially inside. They continue to do that. Two of them being sophomores and one being a senior, we feel like we’re in good hands for years to come.”
Jacobs added that his team must a find a way to take what is learned in practice and use it in a game setting.
“Across the board, it’s us being able to take what we teach in practice and what the kids learn and be able to apply that to a game setting,” Jacobs said. “We’ll do stuff right in practice and then we get in the game and we forget our assignments, so as coaches, we have got to figure out how to better teach it and for players to figure how to correctly implement what has been taught in practice and rep it on Friday.”
Although the Trojans are new to playing eight-man football, Jacobs said the community has been out in full force to support the team.
“We had a great crowd last Friday and we’re expecting a good one this Friday,” Jacobs said. “Our community does a good job of supporting our athletes regardless of what sport it is. We’ve been very pleased with that. We just hope that we put a product on the field that they’re happy with. What we tell our kids is that the joy is in the process, so we’re not worried about wins and losses, we’re worried about just being better every day and competing. If Mountain Pine beats us, make Mountain Pine beat us and not beat ourselves.”
For the Trojans to upend one of the top teams in the class, Jacobs said his offense must produce and his defense has to find a way to slow down a very explosive offense.
“Offensively, we’ve got to finish drives, defensively, we’ve got to contain. We can’t let them get outside of us,” Jacobs said.