The Hornets have won eight games in a row with their most recent win being a 40-10 victory over the Hamilton Lions in the first round of the 2A State Playoffs 40-10 in Mound Bayou last week.
This week, the Hornets, at 9-3, will have an even tougher opponent in the Calhoun City Wildcats Friday night in the second round of the playoffs at 7 p.m. in Mound Bayou. The Wildcats, at 8-4, are coming off a solid 50-0 win over O’Bannon in last week’s first round action. The Wildcats have a strong playoff history as this year marks their 26th playoff appearance.
JFK head football coach Sheldon Hodge said the team is looking forward to Friday night.
“It’s definitely going to be a stiff challenge,” Hodge said. “The seniors and the other players have another opportunity playing in front of the home crowd. Calhoun City is a worthy opponent. We’re not intimidated by Calhoun City or their tradition. We think our boys will be able to perform well come Friday night.”
The Hornets have a strong playoff history of their own as they are in the postseason for a 22nd time and fifth time in the last six years.
One thing that has been key to JFK’s success has been the defense. Over the course of the eight game winning streak, the Hornets have given up just 46 total points for an average of just 5.8 points a night. The Hornets have not given up more that 14 points in any of those eight games.
“At the beginning of the year, I felt like we had a defense that would be able to limit the opponents to 14 points, but it took a little time to get it to gel,” Hodge said. “At some point in the season, the gelling took place and we were able to live up to our capability.”
Senior linebacker Demorris Bedford currently leads the Hornets in total tackles with 69. He also has a fumble recovery for a touchdown and an interception return for a touchdown. Carnez Gant has been a great weapon on offense and defense by rushing for 678 yards and seven touchdowns on 85 carries and has intercepted three passes on defense, while running back Eugene Pruitt (147 carries, 856 yards, 11 TDs) has been a bull running the football.
For Calhoun City, sophomore quarterback Chakel Gates has led the offense by rushing for 1,036 yards with 16 touchdowns on 191 carries, while completing 75-of-138 passes for 917 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Junior linebacker Cartin McBride (85 tackles) has led the Wildcats’ defense.
The winner of the JFK-Calhoun City game will take on the winner of the Eupora-South Delta game next week in the third round.