By Charlie Chitwood
When it comes time for the Jefferson Bulldogs to take the field against Howe’s Bulldogs, more is going to familiar than just the opposing team’s mascot.
Howe’s Bulldogs – who finished second in District 5-3A – run an offense that looks remarkably similar to that operated by Hughes Springs And Paul Pewitt. And New Boston.
“They are very similar in their offense to what Hughes Springs tries to do,” said Jefferson head coach Antwain Jimmerson. “We’re going to have to play good defense.”
Howe’s Bulldogs enter the Area playoff matchup having finished third in District 5-3A behind Pottsboro and Van Alstyne – the two district teams they lost to in a 7-3 campaign.
An underdog against 6-3A runner-up Grandview, the Bulldogs led most of the game before a late Zebra comeback made it 28-21. Howe drove and scored in the game’s final minute, then successfully converted a two-point play for the 29-28 victory.
PigskinPrep.com ranks Howe at #25 in the state and #9 in Class 3A-Region II, just behind Jimmerson’s Dawgs (#21 in Class 3A and #7 in Region II).
And while Jefferson took its formative lumps in predistrict competition against Class 3A-Division II teams (Waskom and Elysian Fields), Howe rebounded from a 42-14 season-opening loss to Gunter to win four straight before district play commenced. Howe’s Dawgs took punches from Pottsboro (35-7) and Van Alstyne (39-36) before reeling off three straight victories over Whitesboro, Pilot Point and Callisburg.
Jefferson’s Bulldogs have become the darling of the Class 3A-Region II playoffs –at least without regard to the teams they have to play. Jimmerson’s squad looks to the 35-20 victory over fourth ranked White Oak as a touchstone, then the bi-district slugfest with Winnsboro as solid foundation for its confidence heading into the game.
“The seniors have done such a good job leading their younger teammates,” Jimmerson said. “We meet with the captains (all seniors) on Sundays and listen to them tell us what’s going on the locker room. They’re bringing their teammates along right and learning more about leadership. This is a fun group.”
Jefferson has outscored opponents 38-20, while Howe’s average margin of victory has been 33-23. None of that previous scoring and stopping matters though once the team’s are on the field Friday night.
Friday’s winner advances…
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