Even though they defeated South Pike in dramatic fashion last Friday, the North Pike Jaguars ended up with the No. 3 seed in the playoffs based on playoff positioning scenarios. Regardless, the red-hot Jaguars will look to make it six wins in a row Friday as they will open the postseason at the St. Stanislaus Rock-a-chaws.
“They are well-coached, I think that they play hard,” North Pike head coach Matt Mock said of the Rock-a-chaws. “They have two backs who can do some things. They are very multiple, they like to run it and they like to throw it. They are rolling offensively so we are going to have to play well defensively.”
The Jaguar defense is coming off of the spirited win over county rival South Pike where it generated four takeaways against the Eagles, two of which came from senior leader Fred Lewis.
On the other side of the ball, a loaded North Pike offense will have their hands full with a 3-4 Cover-3 defense that St. Stanislaus runs efficiently.
“Defensively, they are athletic and they are going to roll safeties down and play a Cover-3 so we are going to have to hit some opportunities in the passing game,” Mock said. “We threw the ball really well last week if you eliminate the interceptions. Our line is going to have to step up and make some blocks because their d-line is solid. They are not as good as South Pike’s D-line but they are very capable.”
To counter, Mock said that his passing game is going to have to take what St. Stanislaus gives them.
The Jaguars have a multitude of options for sophomore quarterback Cardell McDowell in senior receivers Cade Rush, Zamarea Fountain and Jacoby Matthews, junior receiver Jermarius Lewis, senior running back Damuriyon Montgomery and Fred Lewis — who occasionally lines up at tight end.
Friday’s contest is not the first road game for the Jaguars on the Gulf Coast this season. On Sept. 19, the Jaguars traveled to Pass Christian and walked away with a convincing 39-10 win over the Pirates.
“We will be used to this drive, it is a little bit shorter but it is the same route,” Mock said. “As far as getting their mind right and telling them what to expect for Friday, that will be a good teaching point.”
And for the Jaguars, even though Friday’s start of the playoffs will be like a whole new season, Mock wants his team to keep the momentum going from the recent win streak.
“You want to be excited because of what we have been able to accomplish,” he said. “Having only one loss in a game that we have played in it is kind of a confidence boost. We are undefeated in our district in games that we have actually played and we are undefeated in 4A in games that we have actually played. It is going to be one of those things Friday where we go in there and play our style of ball.”
Friday’s game also marks the second-consecutive year that the Jaguars will go on the road to open the playoffs. Last season, they were a No. 4 seed and defeated No. 1 Quitman 21-19.