Rocky Mount Prep coach Danny Ward took Friday night’s loss personally.
In the postgame huddle, he told his team to repeat that it was Ward’s fault the Jaguars lost 45-16 to Granville Central (1-1).
The Jaguars were not mentally prepared to face the quick passes of the Panthers’ offense and as head coach, it is Ward’s job to make sure his players are ready.
“Mentally, we were not prepared,” Ward said. “I thought the guys were ready for the short passing game and I guess I didn’t give them enough looks to be prepared.”
No matter how many times Rocky Mount Prep (1-1) practiced facing Granville Central’s offense, it wouldn’t have mattered. Panthers’ quarterback Jay Parker picked apart the Jaguars’ defense, completing 13 of his 14 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns.
It was an onslaught of quick bubble-screen passes and 7-yard out routes that the Jaguars’ defense could not contain. Rocky Mount Prep did put a lot of
pressure on Parker from outside rushes, but the junior showcased his experience in eluding the defenders while keeping his eyes down the field in search of open receivers.
“(Parker) performed really well,” Granville Central coach John Hammett said. “We expect that as a third-year starter as a junior. He makes good decisions and we need to continue to keep his development going.”
Rocky Mount Prep’s offense had a difficult time sustaining any drives in the first half with an offensive line that could not hold its blocks. The assistant coaches continuously switched out linemen in hopes of finding someone who would not be afraid of contact, but no combination seemed to work.
The Jaguars’ running backs danced around tackles in the backfield just to reach the line of scrimmage, and any big runs were due to pure athleticism on the running backs’ part.
Senior running back Mark Tann and junior Caleb Johnson combined to run for 117 yards, and both said the effort in the first half was unacceptable.
“We didn’t come out in the first half and do what we were supposed to do,” Tann said.
Trailing 38-0 at the intermission, Ward told his players to forget about the first half and concentrate on winning the last two quarters. The Jaguars did just that, winning the second half, 16-7, against the Granville Central backups.
“The first half we didn’t play hard as a team and we didn’t execute,” Johnson said. “In the second half we came out and played as a team.”
The offensive line was able to sustain its blocks longer and give the running backs more holes to attack. The Jaguars marched down the field on both of their second half possessions and socred touchdowns.
The first drive went eight plays and 58 yards and ended with Dionte Hudson powering his way into the end zone on fourth and goal.
The other possession was a bit more impressive, lasting nine plays and spanning 76 yards before junior quarterback Isaiah Lynch snuck through at the goal line for the score.
Those two drives, coupled with limiting Granville Central to one yard on its last two possessions was a much needed confidence boost for Rocky Mount Prep moving forward.
“It should give them some (confidence),” Ward said. “The main thing we wanted to work on was having confidence in themselves. In the first half, I thought they lost confidence in themselves.”
Granville Central 45
Rocky Mount Prep 16
GC 14 24 7 0 – 45
RMP 0 0 8 8 – 16
GC – Jerry Williams 5-yard run (kick good), 7:27
GC – Jay Parker 11-yard pass to Naize Young (kick good), 2:45
GC – Jay Parker 15-yard pass to Tamille Royster (kick good), 9:44
GC – Jerry Williams 4-yard run (kick good), 4:35
GC – Jay Parker 31-yard pass to Jerry Williams (kick good), 3:40
GC – Chad Moore 25-yard field goal, 0:26
GC – Jay Parker 10-yard pass to Tamille Royster (kick good), 9:21
RMP – Dionte Hudson 2-yard run (Jay Parker pass to Percy Harper successful), 2:39
RMP – Isaiah Lynch 1-yard run (Dionte Hudson run successful), 4:25
11 First downs..............12
0 Passing yards.........245
178 Total offense..........315
Rushing – GC: Jerry Williams 8-64; Triston Lumley 11-15; Jay Parker 3- (-3); Ethan Goss 2- (-6); RMP: Caleb Johnson 12-59; Mark Tann 11-58; David Parks 2-22; Dymont Harfield 4-19; Dionte Hudson 3-11; Percy Harper 5-8; Isaiah Lynch 1-1;
Passing – GC: Jay Parker 13– 14–4, 245; RMP: Isaiah Lynch 0– 4–0, 0; Mark Tann 0-2-0, 0;
Receiving – GC: Logan Hill 5-96; Tamille Royster 4–61; Triston Lumley 1-31; Jerry Williams 1-31; Naize Young 2-26
Josh Walfish can be reached at 407-9952 or firstname.lastname@example.org