Blue Jays upbeat: JHS hosts No. 4 Red River in home openerOther than the final score and a few missed assignments in a 22-19 loss to Devils Lake last Saturday, Jamestown High School football coach Tim Fletcher was generally pleased with what he saw.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Other than the final score and a few missed assignments in a 22-19 loss to Devils Lake last Saturday, Jamestown High School football coach Tim Fletcher was generally pleased with what he saw.
“We made some mental mistakes, but it’s things that are correctable,” he said. “Once those adjustments are made, it’s a matter of executing Friday night and taking care of business.”
The Blue Jays open their home schedule at 7 tonight against Grand Forks Red River at Ernie Gates Field.
They battled hard against Devils Lake, holding a lead until the Firebirds were able to punch in a touchdown in the final 3 minutes. Devils Lake coach Jay Schneider complimented Jamestown’s work ethic, as his Firebirds had a much easier time winning against the Jays last year.
Fletcher said it’s a matter of doing the little things right.
“I’ve told these guys (not to) worry about the big things,” Fletcher said. “If you worry about the little things, the big things will take care of themselves. As long as we keep doing those things, we’re gonna see progress every week.”
A top-notch opponent meets Jamestown tonight. The Roughriders (1-0) are coming off a 35-0 thrashing of Williston.
“They’ve got good team speed in their specialty positions,” Fletcher said. “They have some height at receiver and good receivers. We have confidence in our guys that are out there.”
Special teams could play a factor, as it did in Red River’s win over Williston. The Roughriders returned two punts for touchdowns and set up two rushing scores on good returns in a game that was called after three quarters because of lightning.
Because of those returns, the Roughriders’ offensive numbers are deceiving. They tallied just 145 yards of total offense against the Coyotes.
And that offense won’t take much getting used to for the Blue Jays, who run something similar. Jamestown ran regularly out of the I-formation against Devils Lake.
“They run similar formations that we do,” Fletcher said. “We’re gonna see a lot of the same formations we practice against.”
On offense, Fletcher said he’s preparing for a defense that looks like a 3-3, meaning the defense will likely blitz one-to-three linebackers on any play.
“They’re gonna come from any three of those spots,” Fletcher said. “They’re physical. (But) if we pick up their blitzes and execute, we’re gonna have success.”
Jamestown was relatively successful in rushing and passing against Devils Lake. Senior quarterback Matt Grounds completed 6-of-13 attempts for 112 yards and two touchdowns including three balls for 80 yards to junior wideout C.J. Soulis. Senior tailback Anthony Cook ran 28 times for 129 yards.
However, big plays doomed the Blue Jays. They gave up 364 yards on offense, but 240 of them came on just five plays. On the other 39 offensive plays, Devils Lake managed just 124 yards.
Tonight’s game serves as one last tune-up for the West Region season, which kicks off next week at Mandan. But don’t tell that to Fletcher, who said every game means the same in the regular season.
“Conference or nonconference, it doesn’t matter for us,” Fletcher said. “And I think the kids are taking that mentality into every Friday night.”
Jamestown season statistics
Scoring by quarter
JHS 7 6 6 0 — 19
Mandan 0 15 0 7 — 22
Offense JHS Opp.
Passing 217 108
Rushing 112 256
Total 329 364
Rushing: J, Anthony Cook 28-129, Matt Grounds 8-44, Eathan Gumke 3-27, Taylor Orr 2-11, Ryan Hillerud 1-6.
Passing: J, Grounds 6-13-1 112.
Receiving: J, C.J. Soulis 3-80, Sean Lindberg 2-21, Marc Wagner 1-11.
Scoring: Grounds 2 passing TDs and an extra point, C.J. Soulis 1 receiving TD, Sean Lindberg 1 receiving TD
Turnovers: JHS 1 (interception), opponent 0.
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org