JESSIEVILLE: Young Lions hungry for playoff run

Conference: 5-3A
Coach: Don Phillips
’12 Record: 7-4 (4-3)

A devastating 44-22 loss to Earle in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs last fall left Jessieville hungry for more. Despite returning just four starters, a reloaded Lions team returns focused and ready to avenge its premature playoffs exit.

“We probably haven’t been this young in quite a while” coach Don Phillips said. “They’re good guys. They just need some field testing to get some experience.”

Three candidates battled for the quarterback position during the offseason, including seniors Brandon Garner and Tristun Racine.

With the quarterback situation uncertain, the Lions will focus on the strength of their running game to make plays in 2013.  Strong fullback and senior leader Johnny Chambers anchors the offense at fullback. Senior Cole Crawford and junior Ronnie Anderson have potential to make big plays on the ground. Sophomore newcomer Tali Nasilai will mix things up as well.

Jessieville’s playoff path will rely heavily on its performance against conference powerhouses Glen Rose and Fountain Lake. The Lions lost 54-14 and 45-0 to the Beavers and Cobras, respectively, in 2012. The third seed from the 5-3A conference appears to be tangible for the Lions.

The Lions appear strong on both lines, but feature many players playing both offense and defense, including Chambers, Garner, Racine, Nasilai and senior Jacob Williams.

Sept. 6        at Mountain Pine
Sept. 13    at Mount Ida
Sept. 20    Bauxite
Sept. 27    at Bismarck
Oct. 4        Glen Rose
Oct. 11        at Benton Harmony Grove
Oct. 18        Two Rivers
Oct. 25        Horatio
Nov. 1        at Centerpoint
Nov. 7        Fountain Lake