YARDS AFTER THE CATCH

Jackson County's Bo Reeves catches a pass against Hart County last Friday (Sept. 27) in the Panthers' 56-13 loss to the Bulldogs. Jackson County hosts Morgan County this Friday (Oct. 4). 

Jackson County faced one of the region’s best teams last week with a road-trip to fifth-ranked Hart County, and the grind only continues this week with a big home game.

The Panthers host 4-1 Morgan County Friday (Oct. 4). The Bulldogs, who won 8-AAA championships in 2016 and 2017, are coming off a 27-17 win over defending region champ Monroe Area in their 8-AAA opener.

“They’re very good,” Jackson County coach Rich McWhorter said. “They’re definitely a playoff-caliber football team … They’ve got really good personnel, and they’re very well coached. They’re 4-1, and they’re rolling right along. I know that was a big win for them last week against Monroe.”

The Bulldogs are led by 6-foot-1, 220-pound quarterback Trenton Folds, who threw for 212 yards in Morgan County’s win last week. The backfield features running back Kobridgette Lumpkin, who romped for 158 yards in the victory over Monroe Area. Jerrit Wyatt and Seth Robertson are the Bulldogs’ top two receiving targets. Both have just under 200 yards receiving on the season.

“They’ve got a lot of weapons on offense, plus I think their offensive line is really good,” McWhorter said. “You look at the film and everybody wants to look at the quarterback, running back and receivers, that sort of thing. But I think the offensive line is a really good group, also. But, again, a lot of targets, a lot of weapons and they can do a lot of different things to you.”

Morgan County’s defense, which has allowed 17 points or less in a game four times this season, has talent as well, according to McWhorter.

“Size and speed is what you want on defense,” he said. “Again, it’s another really good group that will get after you. Very physical. I think the secondary is very physical and a very good group.”

Jackson County enters this game having lost two straight games, including last week’s region opener to Hart County, 56-13. McWhorter said his team must stay the course and improve.

“Regroup and go from there,” McWhorter said of the message moving forward. “I don’t want to change really what we’re doing. We think we’re doing what we need to be doing, and we need to get better at it.”

Jackson County has reached the midpoint of the season. The Panthers have five region games remaining as they attempt to position themselves for a playoff spot.

When asked about the back half of the season, McWhorter said he isn’t looking past the next practice.

“Right now, it’s all about trying to win Monday,” he said. “We’ve got today in front of us and preparing for one game, one game only. The region is a very good region — a lot of good players, a lot of good talent in our region. We’re just trying to hang in there somewhere.”

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