Leader Blues

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

SPORTS >> Blocking a key as Red Devils host Warriors

Leader sports editor

Given how rough the road has been for Jacksonville, the Red Devils would probably look forward to getting back to Jan Crow Stadium even if it wasn’t homecoming weekend.

But it is, and the Red Devils are hoping to end a two-game losing streak before the home crowd and alumni when they play Little Rock Hall on Friday.

The Red Devils had their moments in their road losses at Mountain Home and at Jonesboro last week. Jacksonville (1-4 0-2 6A-East) scored 28 points in the second half of the 35-28 loss to Mountain Home, putting up 486 total yards, and jumped out to a 14-0 lead at Jonesboro before falling 28-14.

“They were back to back. They were pretty tough trips,” Jacksonville coach Mark Whatley said. “We’re glad to be back home.”

In both road games, the Red Devils lost opportunities because of pressure on quarterback Logan Perry. A fourth-down sack deep inside Mountain Home territory ended the Jacksonville comeback, and Jonesboro had four sacks and stripped Perry twice last Friday.

Jacksonville also suffered a blocked field goal that would have given the Red Devils a 17-14 lead before halftime.

Suffice to say, blocking has been a focus in practice this week, especially protecting Perry.

“He will be protected,” Whatley said.

Jacksonville is far from out of a conference race that sends six to the postseason. But the Red Devils need to start getting some league victories, and that could begin Friday against Hall (0-5).

“We’re doing things well, everybody’s playing hard,” Whatley said. “We’re playing well at times but we’ve got to get a win. They don’t have trophies for moral victories last time I looked.”