Two in a row? Jamestown hosts Dickinson after beating Mandan last weekThe Jamestown High School football team ground out its first win since 2010 last week.
By: Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown High School football team ground out its first win since 2010 last week.
And this week is homecoming.
Excitement was in the air throughout the week, and the combination of the festivities and a positive feeling about the football team’s chances this season could fill the stands when Jamestown hosts Dickinson in a West Region contest at 7 p.m. today at Ernie Gates Field.
For Jamestown coach Tim Fletcher, however, this week was just another chance to get back to work.
“The kids had a good week of practice,” he said. “The momentum was good. They’re coming together. I told them that this is the first step, and to keep it going, you’ve got to keep doing those things each week.”
The Blue Jays are fresh off a 13-6 win over Mandan, their first since beating Grand Forks Central late in the 2010 season. They’re also going for their first win over Dickinson since 2008.
“Now, you got a taste of it,” Fletcher told his team. “You’ve got to do this week in and week out. … You’ve got to prepare like you’ve been there before. You have to keep that same intensity and that drive, week in and week out.”
Fans could be hoping for the kind of big play that Jamestown showed in the first quarter against Mandan, when Matt Grounds hit Sean Lindberg for a 60-yard touchdown.
“These kids are showing that they can make big plays,” Fletcher said. “They’re living up to the potential they can perform. The confidence week in and week out, we’re seeing it grow. We’ve just got to build on that.”
Part of the team’s confidence comes from the senior quarterback Grounds, who has been integral to the team’s offense. He’s 24-of-43 passing for 379 yards and three touchdowns to two interceptions in three games. He’s also run for 70 yards on 28 carries.
“Matt’s shown phenomenal leadership,” Fletcher said. “All of the seniors; they’re a group looking to one goal — to come out and play hard every week.”
Senior running back Anthony Cook scored on a 3-yard touchdown last week, his first score of the season. A well-deserved reward considering Cook has been the team’s main workhouse in the backfield, posting 262 yards on 67 carries for 3.9 yards per carry.
But Cook was expected to be a mainstay for the Jays; it’s the areas of improvement that Fletcher raves about, like the team’s secondary and linebackers.
“Our secondary has come a long way,” he said. “We’ve given up a long ball here or there, but we’ve been solid for the most part. We really saw our linebackers be more physical last week.”
Fletcher said he expects to see Dickinson work its offense out of a Wing-T formation, which also means the Midgets will be utilizing a lot of motion in their offense. Dickinson junior quarterback Dylan Skabo is the centerpiece of the offense, Fletcher said.
“He’s definitely their biggest threat,” Fletcher said. “He’s got a great (bootleg), a great fake, he’s agile and he can run. He’s a threat from anywhere on the field. The key to this week is getting pressure on this kid. With Dickinson, it’s all timing. If we can disrupt that timing in their Wing-T, we can do some things.”
On defense, Dickinson uses a balanced attack, not like Mandan and Grand Forks Red River’s blitz-heavy schemes. Fletcher said he expects to see a 4-4.
“This will be one of the first times we’ve seen an even front this year,” Fletcher said. “They’re not as aggressive in terms of blitzing, but they’re pretty solid all the way around.”
Adding to Fletcher’s optimism is that the Blue Jays have been able to avoid any serious injuries. Fletcher said junior wideout C.J. Soulis has a nagging quadricep.
“He’s a little banged up, but it’s looking good,” said Fletcher, who also noted that he doesn’t expect anyone to miss any time. “We’ve been lucky. The injury bug has stayed away from us.”
2012 Jamestown schedule
Aug. 24 — Lost 22-19 at Devils Lake; Aug. 31 — Lost 26-0 vs. Grand Forks Red River; Sept. 7 — Won 13-6 at Mandan, 7 p.m.; Sept. 14 — vs. Dickinson, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21 — vs. Bismarck Century, 7 p.m.; Sept. 28 — at Bismarck High, 7 p.m.; Oct. 5 — vs. Grand Forks Central, 7 p.m.; Oct. 12 — at Williston, 7 p.m.; Oct. 17 — vs. Minot, 7 p.m.
Jamestown season statistics
Scoring by quarter
JHS 14 12 6 0 — 31
Opp. 0 35 6 13 — 48
Offense JHS Opp.
Passing 379 361
Rushing 397 524
Total 776 885
Rushing: J, Anthony Cook 67-262, Matt Grounds 28-70, Eathan Gumke 11-46, Taylor Orr 4-13, Ryan Hillerud 1-6.
Passing: J, Grounds 24-43-2 379.
Receiving: J, Sean Lindberg 7-155, C.J. Soulis 7-131, Marc Wagner 4-40, Anthony Cook 4-32, Tyler Ukestad 2-19.
Scoring: Grounds 3 passing TDs and 2 extra points, Sean Lindberg 2 receiving TDs, C.J. Soulis 1 receiving TD, Anthony Cook 1 rushing TD.
Turnovers: JHS 3 (2 interceptions, fumble), opponent 3 (2 fumbles, interception).
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org