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PODCAST: Lions to face Beavers in 3A-5 opener

by James Leigh | September 23, 2021 at 3:55 a.m.

A week after picking up its first win, Jessieville opens 3A-5 conference play against one of the league's perennial powerhouses in Glen Rose.

The Lions (1-1) held on late to take a 48-33 win over the visiting Dierks Outlaws last week, led by an impressive five-touchdown performance by junior running back Matthew Huff.

Huff had 18 carries for 122 yards and three touchdowns while reeling in three catches, two for touchdowns, and a team-high 78 yards receiving.

"He was excited to be back," Lions head coach T.J. Burk said. "And, you know, we knew as part of the game plan we were going to try to run the football and, you know, take advantage of the guys that we have up front blocking for him. And, you know, it led to a big game for him."

Senior quarterback Carson Hair was the only Lion who outpaced Huff, averaging 12.9 yards per carry as he rushed 14 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Hair was an efficient passer as well, connecting on 7 of 8 passes for 127 yards against a single interception.

"We can add him into the run game, and anytime you rush for over 300 yards, you know, you feel good about your chances of winning," Burk said. "And then, you know, we were efficient in the pass game, too, 7 of 8. We didn't have to throw it a lot. And so, you know, it was important that when we did, we executed it, and we did that very well."

This week, the Lions travel to Hot Spring County to face the Glen Rose Beavers (1-1), who are coming off a break after last week's game against Haskell Harmony Grove was canceled. The Beavers lost 30-20 in their season opener at Malvern before decimating Magnet Cove 53-7 in Week 2.

Despite the well-documented tradition that the Beavers have, Burk and the Lions are treating this week's game no different than any other.

"I mean, we've got to play them at some point, so, you know, why, why not go ahead and play them first?" Burk said. "We're excited about playing, and, you know, every week in this conference, there's really not an easy week. So we just take it one game at a time, we don't look past anybody, and we don't look forward to anybody. So we'll take it one game at a time and one play at a time during the game and just try to execute each play the best we can."

The Beavers have traditionally used a multi-faceted offense, and Burk said that has not changed, utilizing both an aerial and a ground attack.

"They're a multiple offense," he said. "They'll get in the spread; they'll also get in some I formation. They're, they're physical up front, and they like to run the ball, but they can also mix in pass, and they got a couple of weapons on the outside that can hurt us. So you know, we've kind of got to be ready for a little bit of everything."

With a large and physical offensive line, the Beavers also use some of that size on defense as well.

"They're big and physical on that side, too," Burk said. "They are not afraid to come downhill and hit people. And they do a good job in the secondary with their coverages, and they'll, they'll mix it up some. And they add some linebackers to their coverage, too, and, you know, they've got some skill kids on the back end, they can make plays for them. So, you know, you got to execute extremely well, and be able to protect the football because you can't turn it over against them. If you turn it over, they'll take advantage of it and go put points on the board."

The Lions should be mostly back to full strength this week after several injured players are expected to rejoin the team on the gridiron.

"We're going to be healthier than we've been in the past couple of weeks," Burk said. "We get a few guys back this week from injury and other things. So you know, hopefully our numbers will be back up this week, and we won't have to play so many guys both ways."

Kickoff at Beaver Stadium is set for 7 p.m.

Print Headline: Lions to face Beavers in 3A-5 opener

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