Friday's all about 'the game' for Nelson, Blue Jay football
The Jamestown High School football team will host Watford City on Friday.
JAMESTOWN — For Bill Nelson Homecoming is about one thing and one thing only.
"Homecoming is about the football game on Friday night," Nelson, the head coach of the Jamestown High School football team, said. "It's the culmination — that's what you are waiting on and that's all I am concerned about it."
Nelson and the Jays will kick off the 2022 Homecoming game against Watford City at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at Charlotte and Gordon Hansen Stadium. The Jays are entering week No. 4 undefeated at 3-0 while the Wolves are hungry for that elusive first win.
"They are going to fight hard," Nelson said of the Wolves. "There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. Coach Johnsrud is going to have them ready to play. They've had a hard time sustaining numbers — they've got 32 kids out in between grades 10 through 12."
The last time the Jays faced the Wolves was in week No. 4 of the 2021 season. The Jays came out on top 41-0. Jamestown is 3-1 against the Wolves, their last loss coming in the 2017 Class AA state quarterfinal, where they lost 6-3. Watford City's last winning season was in 2017. The Wolves' last win came in week five of the 2020 season when they defeated Stanley 40-8.
Based on the football film he has watched, the Wolves are going to try and run the ball to move the chains, Nelson said. Watford City has also been known to play some I formation and try to spread teams out a little bit. Nelson said Watford City doesn't stay in any one offensive scheme for more than a couple of plays.
"You need to be prepared because any team we face is going to throw a wrinkle at us but we just need to worry about us — that's what it comes down to," Nelson said. "We need to come out and play assignment-sound football and play to the intensity that we are capable of playing at."
Nelson said the Jays took too much time to start playing against Grand Forks Central. The team was losing 20-7 at the half, but the head coach has been blessed with a squad that responds well to his halftime calls to action.
Quarterback Payton Hochhalter went 15 for 22 through the air for 300 yards and four touchdowns unofficially. The senior signal-caller did throw a pair of picks to the Knights' defense.
Jackson Walters was the leading receiver for the second-straight week. Walters picked up 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Preston Gall had four catches for 75 yards and a score, while Tyson Jorrison hauled in four receptions for 48 yards.
The Jays will have one less starter to throw punches this Friday — probably.
Senior running back Aden Braun went down with a high ankle sprain last Friday against Grand Forks Central. Nelson said the senior did not practice earlier in the week.
Second-stringer Josh Robertson filled in for Braun and racked up 101 on 16 carries yards unofficially. Nelson said as of Tuesday he wasn't sure if Braun would be back to play on Friday but if he isn't, Nelson is fully confident in Robertson's ability.
"We're not going to change our scheme up, we're not, not going to be a spread team, we just have to come out with intensity and need to execute better — right away and not waiting," Nelson said. "We need to be the instigators instead of letting other teams take a shot. When we throw the first punch and play like how we're supposed to play, we're pretty good."