All-Eagle matchup tonight in Jacksonville


Hokes Bluff (0-1) at Jacksonville (1-0)

Last week: Southside 22, Hokes Bluff 15; Jacksonville 37, Pleasant Valley 12

Last meeting: 2009 –  Jacksonville 33, Hokes Bluff 30

Series record: Hokes Bluff 12, Jacksonville 11

By Gene Stanley/Messenger Sports Correspondent

From game reports, it would seem that Hokes Bluff’s first priority this week should be slowing Jacksonville running back Dominique Thomas, who had 299 yards and four touchdowns last week in a win over Pleasant Valley.

Eagles coach Mike Robertson couldn’t agree more.

“(Thomas) is a really good and speedy runner,” Robertson said. “They seem to be run-oriented, so we’ve got to be able to do a good job there.”

It’s still to early to tell if the Golden Eagles are going to be a run-first team or not, as they line up in the spread and quarterback Jackson Bell has the arm to burn any team that tries to focus solely on the run.

“He’s a good enough passer that he will make you pay if you concentrate solely on the runners,” Robertson said. “You’ve got to respect his throwing ability or they will bust a big play.”

Jacksonville first-year coach Clint Smith, formerly of Saks, is a veteran coach who will utilize whatever is necessary to try and win.

“We’ve faced Saks a few times and they were always tough,” Robertson said.

Hokes Bluff took a tough overtime loss to Southside last week.

“We did a lot of good things but obviously not enough to win the game,” Robertson said. “We’ve got to be more consistent. We’d make a few good plays, then do something to shoot ourselves in the foot. We’d miss a block or miss a tackle and Southside took advantage.”

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