While they have no common opponents to date, it does nothing to diminish the importance of Friday’s game for last-place Spalding (1-4-1 overall, 0-2 Region 4-AAAA Div. B) which is trying to shake off the effects of losing four in a row.
“What we know couldn’t happen has happened with some injuries to key players and our lack of depth,” said Davis, whose team has lost to Locust Grove 14-0, Dutchtown 24-21, Upson-Lee 31-10 and Riverdale 21-0 in succession.
Conversely, the Tim Floyd-coached Jonesboro Cardinals (5-1, 1-1) — idle last week — have won three in a row, knocking off Eagle’s Landing 45-21, Woodland-Stockbridge 32-20 and North Clayton 28-6 in succession during a season where their only blemish is a 34-33 loss to Top-10 ranked Griffin at Memorial Stadium in Griffin.
“Anybody who knows Jonesboro as well as I do — facing them the last three years prior to coming here (Spalding) — knows they have great athletes,” said Davis. “Coach Floyd and his staff do an outstanding job of coaching them and putting them into position to be successful.”
No place is that more obvious than on offense where the Cardinals are averaging 34 ppg, second only in the entire region to Griffin (35 ppg).
“Offensively they’re very explosive,” noted Davis. “They score a lot of points (and have) a lot of big plays.”
Trying to stop them is a Spalding team allowing a tri-subregion best 17 ppg.
On the other side of the ball, unfortunately, Spalding has struggled this season averaging a region-low 9 ppg. They’ll be trying to crack a Jonesboro defense allowing a tri-subregion best 17 ppg.
“Defensively, they don’t do anything fancy,” Davis noted of the Cardinals. “They base out of a 4-3 and they just try to force you to make mistakes or wait for you to make mistakes so they can capitalize on them.”
Davis said Jonesboro is also dangerous on special teams: “They can return a kick or return a punt at any time in the game, so you have to stay sharp.”
Despite four losses in a row, Davis said his team has kept a positive attitude.
“I am proud of out kids,” he said. ‘They played hard (against Riverdale) and they’re still practicing hard.”
With a victory and a homecoming looming next week against next-to-last North Clayton (1-6, 1-2), the Jags can climb right back into the playoff picture with a victory Friday.
“They continue to fight and they know what’s at the end of the tunnel,” Davis said of his team.
REGION 4-AAAA STANDINGS
School Overall Region PF PA
Stockbridge 5-1-0 1-0 18 11
Woodland-Stock. 2-4-0 1-0 20 27
Locust Grove 5-2-0 1-1 25 19
Dutchtown 5-2-0 1-1 33 20
E. Landing 0-7-0 0-2 25 41
School Overall Region PF PA
Griffin 5-1-0 2-0 35 17
Riverdale 5-2-0 2-1 22 19
Jonesboro 5-1-0 1-1 34 17
Upson-Lee 3-3-0 1-1 26 22
N. Clayton 1-6-0 1-2 13 23
Spalding 1-4-1 0-2 9 17
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
N. Clayton at Griffin
Spalding at Jonesboro
Upson-Lee at Riverdale
Dutchtown at Stockbridge
Woodland at E. Landing
Bye: Locust Grove
LAST WEEK’S GAMES
Riverdale 21, Spalding 0
North Clayton 19, Upson-Lee 14
Woodland 23, Locust Grove 14
Dutchtown 52, E. Landing 22
Bye: Griffin, Jonesboro and Stockbridge