Junction City advances past Jaguars 37-8
JUNCTION CITY, Ark. – Class 2A No. 3 Junction City had no problem on Friday night in the opening round of the Class 2A State Playoffs as the Dragons quickly put away McCrory 37-8 at Paul H. Muse Field inside David Carpenter Stadium. The win over the Jaguars, the fifth seed of the 3-2A, sends the Dragons to the second round of the state playoffs, improves the program to 18-0 in first round playoff games and is the 42nd home playoff win in school history.
The Dragons (8-2) ran 34 plays on Friday night and held the football for less than 14 minutes as the offense struck in multiple facets en route to 353 yards of total offense.
Senior running back Dhante Gibson racked up 177 yards on the ground in 16 carries and scored twice as he averaged 11.1 yards per attempt. Junior quarterback Brady Hutcheson gained 29 yards rushing on the ground, but the majority of his production came through the air as he connected with senior Kevontae Haynes three times for 125 yards and two scores.
Junction City also scored on special teams in the victory as junior JaKiron Cook fielded a Jaguar punt at midfield with less than two minutes remaining in the first half and raced untouched down the McCrory sideline before leaping a defender at the goal line to give the Dragons a 24-0 lead at the intermission following the two-point run by Gibson.
Friday night’s first touchdown came courtesy of Gibson as he scored on a 49-yard touchdown run with 1:59 remaining in the first quarter. Less than two and a half minutes into the second quarter and on Junction City’s first play of their third drive of the evening, Hutcheson found Haynes on a 76-yard touchdown pass. Both scoring drives were capped off by twopoint plunges from defensive standout Sema-j Levingston, who added five total tackles, which included 3.5 for loss with one sack.
Fifty-seven seconds into the second half, Gibson found the endzone again; this time from three yards out, following two carries for 44 yards which set Junction City up inside the Jaguar five-yard line.
Haynes caught his second touchdown pass of the game, a 48-yard toss from Hutcheson, on the first play of the fourth quarter to put Junction City up 37-0 following the extrapoint from senior Jack Smith. Sophomore Tanner Barnett led the defense with 11 total tackles senior J’Vacye’ Cook followed with nine, while the younger Cook chipped in with six. McCrory threw eight times in their 58 offensive plays and completed just two of those attempts for 13 yards. The Jaguars tallied 226 yards on the ground in 50 rushing attempts with 65 of those yards coming on their final drive that saw the Jaguars find the endzone for the only time on Friday night.
Junction City advances in their Class 2A State Playoff run and will remain at home as they play host to Mountainburg; the second seed of the 4-2A. Mountainburg defeated the 8-2A’s Parkers Chapel 46-28 on Friday night to advance. Kickoff from Paul H. Muse Field at David Carpenter Stadium is set for 7 p.m. Fans can follow the Dragons live each and every week on the Dragon Sports Network via UStream and 101.5 The Hog.