The Bradwell Tigers will have to tighten their chin straps as they face a 3-1 Jenkins team at 7:30 tonight at Memorial Stadium in Savannah.
Bradwell (0-4) holds a 7-4 all-time record against the Warriors, but three of the four losses were during the past three seasons as Jenkins slowly started to build a strong team, eventually earning a second-place finish in Region 3-AAAAA in 2010.
Jenkins enters tonight’s game tied for second place in the region with Ware County. Richmond Hill holds the No. 1 spot, while the Tigers are tied for last place with Groves and Windsor Forest.
BI football coach Jim Walsh said Jenkins’ quarterback Paris Barker poses a serious threat. Barker — a 6-foot-2-inch, 172-pound senior — is coming off a 206-yard rushing game with two touchdowns in the first half last week in the Warriors’ 28-20 win over Groves in Garden City.
“He is the guy you want to stop,” Walsh said. “He is their offense and a very mobile guy that wants to run the ball.”
In last week’s loss to Effingham County, the Tigers answered the Rebels’ first touchdown with an 18-yard run by DeAndre Day, who missed the first three games due to an injury he sustained during the summer.
“He had a good game and played hard, and we are happy to have him back … we just have to knock some of the rust off and get him going,” Walsh said.
Defensively, the Tigers shut down the Rebels in the second half, led by Jordan Portley with 16.5 total tackles. They also welcomed back Greg Roman to the defensive lineup in his first game back from injury.
“We finally got two guys back that hadn’t played up to that point,” Walsh said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting things worked out, and I think we will be ready and healthy come Friday night.
Walsh said the Warriors lost many starters to graduation last year, adding that Jenkins’ defense likes to move around and stunt.
“And we are going to have to be able to pick it up,” Walsh said.
He said his offense is coming around.
“I feel confident that we are starting to get it together offensively,” Walsh said. “We definitely played a lot better up front, and we have to build on that. We didn’t turn the ball over like we did in the two previous games, so we are starting to gel … there are a lot of things I feel we need to work out, but I feel we have a chance in these last six games. The kids are very upbeat, and they are working their tails off for us.”