News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Red Raiders travel to No. 1 J.O. Johnson
Adcock says Jaguars are
talented and experienced

By Brooke Milam · 340-2460

Decatur High football coach Jere Adcock said no matter what this week's opponent J.O. Johnson was ranked in the Alabama Sports Writers Association poll — he, his staff and players knew it would be a big game.

In fact, Adcock didn't even know where J.O. Johnson would factor in the rankings for the first four days of preparation for Thursday night's road game with J.O. Johnson at Milton Frank Stadium in Huntsville. Kickoff is at 7.

It just so happens the Jaguars are ranked No. 1 in Class 5A in the polls released Wednesday.

J.O. Johnson (2-0) garnered 21 first-place votes and moved from second to No. 1 in this week's 5A state rankings. Unranked Decatur (1-1) did not receive any votes in the poll.

"We knew (J.O. Johnson) was good. We knew they were talented," Adcock said. "But it doesn't matter if they're No. 1 or No. 2. They're undefeated and it's a region game. ... It's what we expected."

The last time Decatur faced a team that was No. 1 in the ASWA rankings was when it faced undefeated Russellville on Oct. 13, 2006, in the seventh game of last season. The Red Raiders lost 38-28 to the top-ranked Golden Tigers at Ogle Stadium.

Decatur had its shot at J.O. Johnson a year ago, when the Red Raiders lost 13-8 at Ogle Stadium as part of a dismal 4-6 campaign.

Adcock said his team lost that game on mental mistakes, but also keeps that contest in mind as a motivator, facing the Jaguars on Thursday night.

"They're a senior-dominated football team. You look at their starting lineup, and there are guys that have been out there for three years," Adcock said.

"They're loaded with senior talent. They know what to do, and they know how to do it."

J.O. Johnson starts 10 seniors on defense and up to nine on offense.

The Jaguars have four players who are drawing some interest from recruiters, including quarterback David Isabelle (6-foot-3, 187 pounds), running back Jontavius President (5-8, 160), running back Jimmy Vaughn (5-10, 195) and defensive tackle Jomarcus Savage (6-3, 270).

Isabelle, President and Vaughn are one-star recruits, as rated by on a scale of one to five stars. Savage is a three-star recruit and is rated No. 53 among the nation's defensive tackles.

Adcock said his players have gone through the usual preparation for the Jaguars and that the game being on a Thursday night has more to do with the intensified preparation plan than the opponent's high ranking. Adcock said a 5A, Region 8 win on the line is the most important thing.

"After two big games, playing Huntsville and then a big rivalry game against Hartselle, it just takes an emotional toll on you, and any coach would understand that emotional roller coaster you go on," Adcock said.

"We're just trying to prepare for the emotions of a game in the third week of the season and we've got one day less to prepare since it's a Thursday."

Still, do Adcock's Red Raiders think they have a chance at the upset?

"Oh yeah, of course," Adcock said.

"They're ready to play."

Taking on No. 1

Who: Decatur (1-1) vs. No. 1 J.O. Johnson (2-0).

When: Thursday, 7 p.m.

Where: Huntsville’s Milton Frank Stadium.

Radio: AM-1400. Broadcast begins at 6:15 p.m. AM-770 and FM-92.5 at 6:50 p.m.

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