By: Daniel Simmons
Photos Courtesy Tiger Snaps Photography
A frustrating season came to an end for the Winnfield Tiger football team on Friday night, as they lost the regular season finale to the Jonesboro-Hodge Tigers by a score of 30-20. The game was closer and more interesting for Winnfield fans than the last three, but the hometown Tigers still came up short, finishing the season with a 2-8 record.
J-Hodge started the game with the ball, and both teams traded punts. On their second possession, J-Hodge scored a touchdown with a long, impressive drive that included a quarterback sneak to convert a 4th and 1. They got in the end zone again on the following two-point conversion, giving them an 8-0 lead that they would take into the start of the second quarter.
However, Winnfield was able to answer on their next possession. Jake Jones, making his fourth start of the season at quarterback, threw a touchdown pass to Jaylon Jackson to cut the deficit to 8-6. The home crowd rejoiced, as this was the first touchdown for the Winnfield offense since the Red River game two weeks ago. The fun would unfortunately be short-lived for Winnfield, as J-Hodge would score touchdowns on their next two drives, doing major damage with their passing attack to make the score 22-6 in favor of the opposing Tigers. This score would hold into halftime.
Damascus Lewis played quarterback in the second half, and he led a touchdown drive to make the score 22-12. Jaylon Jackson rushed into the end zone for the score, his second score of the evening. Jackson dropped a pass in the end zone as time ran out in the third quarter, but Winnfield would make up for it early in the fourth. They got all the way down to the J-Hodge 1-yard line, where Jake Jones took the handoff and plowed through the line for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion was good, making the score 22-20. At that point it seemed like the rivalry game would come down to the wire with an exciting finish and maybe a win for Winnfield.
Unfortunately, neither would come to fruition. The only score for the rest of the game was another J-Hodge touchdown pass, which Winnfield helped them get with a crushing unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a third down. The two-point conversion was good, arriving at the final score of 30-20.
This was the last game of the season for Winnfield, they will not be going to the playoffs. Winnfield did not finish in the top 28 of the Division III non-select power ratings, meaning that their name was not called on Sunday morning when brackets were revealed. They will end the season with a 2-8 overall record and a 1-4 district record. Both of their wins came at home, against Cedar Creek in Week 3 and Lakeview in Week 6. They lost games to Pineville, Caldwell, Jena, Bunkie, Many, Red River, Mansfield, and Jonesboro-Hodge. All 10 of Winnfield’s regular season opponents made the playoffs.