Long road trip: Blue Jays head to Williston tonight hoping to play well after lossWin or lose, the Jamestown High School football team is looking to set the tone for the future in the final two weeks of the season. The Blue Jays (1-3 West Region, 1-6 overall) visit Williston at 7 tonight in their final regular-season road game of the season.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Win or lose, the Jamestown High School football team is looking to set the tone for the future in the final two weeks of the season.
The Blue Jays (1-3 West Region, 1-6 overall) visit Williston at 7 tonight in their final regular-season road game of the season.
A win would be nice for the program, but even coach Tim Fletcher admits that’s not the most important thing this week or next.
“This is a critical time for us to come out and compete as hard as we can,” he said. “We can set the tone for the future. What kind of legacy do (the seniors) want to leave behind for the underclassmen? … The expectations from the coaches and the players themselves need to be high. We stressed that in practice and to our seniors.
“Hopefully we go there and give it a solid effort and compete and be physical.”
Williston enters with its only win coming over interstate rival Sidney, Mont. But with only one win, the Blue Jays are hoping for a good end to a long season, and it starts with rebounding from last week’s tough loss.
Jamestown took a 16-0 lead on a safety and a 57-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Taylor Orr in the third quarter. However, turnovers doomed the Jays — they had six in the game including five interceptions by quarterback Matt Grounds.
The Knights ran back an interception for a touchdown, and backup quarterback Ross Munson fumbled the ball away on the next possession that Central turned into a passing touchdown. The Knights also successfully ran in both two-point conversions to make the difference in the 16-14 win.
“It was a disappointing loss,” Fletcher said. “You lose that turnover battle, a lot of times it’s not gonna go your way. We need to correct those small mistakes.”
The Blue Jays can hardly take the ball out of Grounds’ hands, as the senior has proved to be the team’s biggest playmaker. But Fletcher knows the Jays have to be able to throw the ball, if they want to make room to run the ball.
“You’ve got to put yourselves in a position where you can open up their defense,” Fletcher said. “When you attack with the run game, the linebackers start to come up. You’ve got to loosen that situation up.
“Matt has the capabilities to do that. We believe in him and believe he’ll do that for us again in the future.”
The Coyotes like to switch defenses from a 4-4 to a 3-4, and Fletcher said the team will be prepared for both.
On offense, Williston also switches it up between an I-formation and four-receiver sets. With the four-receiver sets, the Coyotes will look similar to that of Grand Forks Central. Fletcher said seeing at least three-receiver sets is starting to become commonplace.
“Do I think it’s coming more? Yeah, and I think we’ve seen it more,” he said. “You’re starting to see teams want to spread it out more.”
Leading the Coyotes’ attack is senior all-state quarterback Markus Noeske.
“He’s the person on offense that we need to stop,” Fletcher said. “He’s the leader.”
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 — Lost 49-6 vs. Dickinson; Sept. 21 — Lost 35-8 vs. Bismarck Century; Sept. 28 — Lost 62-6 at Bismarck High; Oct. 5 — Lost 16-14 vs. Grand Forks Central; Oct. 12 — at Williston, 7 p.m.; Oct. 17 — vs. Minot, 7 p.m.
Jamestown season statistics
Scoring by quarter
JHS 20 18 20 8 — 66
Opp. 49 104 36 27 — 216
Offense JHS Opp.
Rushing 649 1,637
Passing 749 784
Total 1,398 2,421
Rushing: J, Anthony Cook 147-447, Matt Grounds 41-87, Eathan Gumke 22-70, Taylor Orr 14-29, Ryan Hillerud 1-6, Ross Monson 1-0.
Passing: J, Grounds 44-92-11 719, Joey Gebhardt 1-3-0 30, Monson 0-0-0 0.
Receiving: J, Sean Lindberg 12-276, C.J. Soulis 13-220, Tyler Ukestad 7-108, Marc Wagner 7-90, Anthony Cook 5-36, Ben Walz 1-27.
Scoring: Grounds 7 passing TDs and 2 extra points, Sean Lindberg 3 receiving TDs, C.J. Soulis 2 receiving TDs, Tyler Ukestead 2 receiving TDs, Anthony Cook 1 rushing TD, 2-point conversion, Taylor Orr 1 rushing TD, 1 punt return TD, team 2 (safety).
Turnovers: JHS 19 (11 interceptions, 8 fumbles), opponents 7 (5 fumbles, 2 interceptions).
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org