Blue Jays meet a desperate Knights squadThe Jamestown High School football team is looking for win No. 2 with three games to go in the regular season. Grand Forks Central is even more desperate.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown High School football team is looking for win No. 2 with three games to go in the regular season.
Grand Forks Central is even more desperate.
The Knights (0-6) have yet to win a game, meaning they’ll be going all out against a team that has made strides to improve over last year’s winless season. The Blue Jays host Central at 7 p.m. today at Ernie Gates Field.
Jamestown coach Tim Fletcher would love to be able to tell his team that win No. 2 is coming this week, but he said he knows it’s never like that.
“You have to remember that these guys are hungry for a win,” Fletcher said. “It’s gonna be a good battle (tonight). Some of the teams in that (winless) scenario are some of the scariest teams you can go up against. You can’t look past any opponent in that position.”
The Blue Jays will do their best to forget about last week, a 62-6 loss to No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Bismarck High. The Demons scored on their first six possessions and led 55-0 at halftime.
“Bismarck is a tough opponent, and they’re gonna be competing at a high level every week,” Fletcher said. “They’re a top quality team right now. They’re kind of the team to beat.”
On to Central.
Prior to last year’s loss, Jamestown had beaten the Knights four consecutive years from 2007-2010. Fletcher was an assistant on the staff at the time.
“It’s always been a competitive game,” he said. “Every time, they’ve shown up to play, whether it was up there or at Gates Field.”
Fletcher’s right. Other than a 32-19 win in 2008, the rest of the games were decided by single digits.
The Knights’ offensive formations should be fun to watch, at the very least. They go four-wide with a single back, often three on one side and one on the other, or using two on each side. Such a spread offense could mean the Blue Jays will need to put a few more defensive backs on the field to defend the pass, but Fletcher said that may not be the case.
“Against Devils Lake, they were roughly 70-percent run,” Fletcher said, “but it was almost the exact opposite vs. (Fargo) North. They’ve shown a tendency to both run prominently and pass prominently.”
The Blue Jays expect to see a 3-3 defense with two extra linebackers, meaning it will likely look like a 5-3 with a few more options available in terms of blitzing or coverage.
“It’s nothing we haven’t seen before,” Fletcher said. “We’ve seen a 3-4 and it’s very similar to how we approach it.”
Turnovers have been an Achilles’ heel as of late, with five coming against Bismarck Century two weeks ago after just five in the first four games. The Blue Jays fumbled six times against Bismarck and lost three of them.
“When you lose that battle, you’re rarely going to come out on top,” Fletcher said. “We’ve got to get back to that scenario where that’s in the positive for us. If you look at a team and break down its stats, time of possession and giveaway-takeaway are the two most important things to look at.”
Jamestown senior Sean Lindberg was a bright spot last week, hooking up with quarterback Matt Grounds on a 52-yard touchdown strike that spoiled the Demons’ shutout. Lindberg has 12 catches for a team-high 276 yards this season.
2012 Jamestown schedule
Record: 1-3 West Region, 1-5 overall.
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 — Lost 49-6 vs. Dickinson; Sept. 21 — Lost 35-8 vs. Bismarck Century; Sept. 28 — Lost 62-6 at Bismarck High; 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 18 12 8 — 52
Opp. 49 104 20 27 — 200
Offense JHS Opp.
Passing 686 753
Rushing 558 1,502
Total 1,244 2,255
Rushing: J, Anthony Cook 121-392, Matt Grounds 36-67, Eathan Gumke 19-61, Taylor Orr 8-22, Ryan Hillerud 1-6.
Passing: J, Grounds 40-78-6 656, Joey Gebhardt 1-3-0 30.
Receiving: J, Sean Lindberg 12-276, C.J. Soulis 12-212, Marc Wagner 6-79, Tyler Ukestad 5-64, Anthony Cook 5-36, Ben Walz 1-27.
Scoring: Grounds 5 passing TDs and 2 extra points, Sean Lindberg 3 receiving TDs, C.J. Soulis 2 receiving TDs, Anthony Cook 1 rushing TD, 2-point conversion.
Turnovers: JHS 13 (6 interceptions, 7 fumbles), opponents 3 (2 fumbles, interception).
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com