The Jags will be playing the second of three straight road games Thursday evening when they travel to Southern Crescent Stadium to face the Riverdale Raiders in Region 4-AAAA subregion B action at 7 p.m.
Southern Crescent Stadium is on the campus of Drew High in Riverdale, behind Southern Regional Medical Center.
“We’ve got to find a way to win on the road. We play well at home [they’re 1-1-1 at Memorial Stadium] but we have not played well on the road,” Davis said. “We’ve got to have a mindset that we will win a game in an unfamiliar place.”
Spalding (1-3-1 overall, 0-1 subregion B) hasn’t won a road game since defeating Eagle’s Landing 7-3 on Sept. 30 of last season in McDonough. The Jags have lost their last four road contests since.
This will be a milestone game for Spalding head coach Nick Davis, who will be coaching against his former team for the first time. Davis coached at Riverdale for two years, left to coach at Shiloh High and returned to Riverdale for three more years before coming to Spalding.
“A lot of the guys playing on Riverdale now were freshmen and sophomores when I was last there. I knew they would be good when they grew up — they took their fair share of lumps as youngsters and now they’re doing well,” Davis said. “Coach Olten Downs has really done well with the program.”
Spalding will have to try to defeat a Riverdale team (4-2, 1-1) which averages 22 points per game and allows 22 ppg as well. Last week against Griffin, the Raiders defense allowed 28 points to the Bears offense and a Bears defensive TD in their 35-14 loss.
The Jags hope they can pick off Raiders quarterback Greg Taylor like Griffin did last week, as Taylor threw for 202 yards but tossed two interceptions as well.
Spalding will be facing a tough task on the road this week, trying to stop a good Raiders offense without senior middle linebacker and team leader Jevaris Jones, who hurt his knee early in the Upson-Lee game last week. Davis said Jones is scheduled to have an MRI on his knee Thursday and he will be out for the Riverdale game.
“Losing JJ is a big blow for us. He does so many things for us that not everyone sees; he’s definitely the type of kid you want on your program,” Davis said. "He really is our team leader."
Davis said he will plug junior linebacker Greg Thaggard in Jones’ spot and will also rotate Anthony Bush in the spot as well.
“We have a good nucleus of kids who have bought into what the coaching staff is teaching, but they’ve got to get the young guys on board,” Davis said. “We can still do well in the subregion but we’ve got to believe we can win ball games, starting Thursday. If we can stay close with Riverdale, I believe we can find a way to beat them. My team is going to have to believe it as well.”
Region 4-AAAA Standings
School Region Overall PF PA
Stockbridge 1-0 5-1-0 18 11
Locust Grove 1-0 5-1-0 27 18
Dutchtown 0-1 4-2-0 30 19
Woodland-Stock. 0-0 1-4-0 18 29
E. Landing 0-1 0-6-0 25 39
School Region Overall PF PA
Griffin 2-0 5-1-0 35 17
Upson-Lee 1-0 3-2-0 29 22
Jonesboro 1-1 5-1-0 34 17
Riverdale 1-1 4-2-0 22 22
Spalding 0-1 1-3-1 10 17
N. Clayton 0-2 0-6-0 12 24
This Week’s Games
Spalding at Riverdale (Thurs.)
Locust Grove at Woodland
North Clayton at Upson-Lee
Eagle's Landing at Dutchtown
Last Week’s Games
Griffin 35, Riverdale 14
Upson-Lee 31, Spalding 10
Stockbridge 31, E. Landing 7
Jonesboro 26, North Clayton 8
Locust Grove 40, Dutchtown 37