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Jefferson Davis High School

 

Raiders on track for another deep playoff run

By Justin Driggers
Consulting Editor

Blackville – At the halfway point of the season, head coach Michael Tindall and his Jefferson Davis Academy squad are in a better spot than they were last year.
And last year the Raiders wound up playing in the state title game.
Through seven games, JDA is 6-1 and 2-0 in SCISA 8-man Region II standings after a 55-8 victory over W.W. King Academy on Sept. 28. The Raiders were 3-3 at about this same time last year.
“This was about the time we hit our stride last year,” Tindall said. “We’ve still got a lot of tough games left on our schedule that we’re going to have to play our best and win. Hopefully, we can be playing our best again come playoff time.”
The injury bug has hit the Raiders, however. They lost their starting quarterback and fullback against Andrew Jackson Academy and have lost a few more players since then.
The big showdown against the defending state champs – and a rematch of last year’s title game – wound up as a 38-22 loss for JDA.
“They’re big up front and they pounded on us for four quarters,” Tindall said. “We got up on them 16-8 in the first quarter and then started to wear down from there. We didn’t play our assignments very well. They scored two touchdowns on fourth downs that were missed assignments. 
“But it was good experience. We’ve just got to coach them up and prepare the best way we can.” 
It was the next game that might have been the highlight of the season so for, Tindall said. Playing on a Wednesday because of Hurricane Florence, the Raiders were down 29-14 at the half to Richard Winn, but rebounded for a 38-35 region victory.
“The guys came out after halftime and had some energy and everything was positive,” Tindall said. “We wore them down and ending up winning.
“It was great to see. That was a big win for us.”
JDA has been outscoring opponents 315-165 this season led by rushing attack averaging more than 400 yards a game.
Jimmy Bozard has already amassed 1,728 yards on 171 carries with 22 touchdowns. Nick Darnell, who took over quarterbacking duties, has 239 yards and three scores while Trent Jamison has added 332 yards and four scores. Darnell has also already thrown for two touchdowns.
“We’re blocking better up front and defensively we’re playing our assignments better,” Tindall said. “We had a shutout against Tri-Academy, which was our first in a few years. I think there’s a better mentality on defense. It’s not just tackling the guy with the ball.”
Defensively, sophomore Tony Hernandez leads the team with 35 tackles followed closely by Jamison and Darnell. Donte Payne has four sacks to rank first on the team followed by Jamison – who is leads the Raiders with eight tackles for a loss followed by Hunter Beach with seven.
In the secondary, Jeremy Davis has two interceptions and a fumble recovery and the Raiders have forced nine turnovers.
 “We just want to continue to improve on what we’re going,” Tindall said. “We’d like to win region and get a first-round home playoff game and go from there.” 

JDA volleyball working through early growing pains

By Justin Driggers
Consulting Editor

Blackville – With three returning starters back from a season ago and a young squad, Jefferson Davis Academy head volleyball coach Bart Owens knew there would be a learning curve.
The Lady Raiders were 3-9 overall and 2-8 in region play as of Sept. 28. 
“We’re having growing pains,” Owens said. “A lot of unforced errors. Seen some good things, but still a lot of unforced errors.”
Communication continues to improve and Owens was encouraged by what he saw in the team’s last match.
“We’re starting to gel a little and the communication is getting a little better,” he said. “We went five sets with St. John’s Christian last night, so we’re picking up a few things here and there.
“We’re still working on fundamentals every day.”
The Lady Raiders also had a very competitive match against Dorchester Academy – who was undefeated until recently. Senior Becca Fogle was a standout contributor who registered 10 blocks. 
“We’re just working on things – fundamentals, communication.,” Owens said. “We’ve worked a lot on our serve-receive. That’s something we’ve really focused on.”
Junior Keirsten Phillips has turned in a solid season thus far and was named to the all-tournament team at the Baron Bash hosted by Wilson Hall. 
Sophomore Caroline Robinson has been solid as a middle hitter, Owens said, and fellow sophomore Kamryn Gantt has filled in nicely at setter while one of the other players was sick.
“She’s really stepped in and played well we’ve had a lot of girls who have done that,” Owens said.
Senior Megan Garvin has also manned the middle for JDA with Abby Seigler on the outside. Kirsten Kite, Abby Grace Weeks and Mary Fogle round out the lineup. 

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