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Vernon and St. Joe set for Friday showdown

Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 10:08 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -We are just about ready for week two of the High School football season, and among the interesting match ups we get to watch, a game between Vernon and Port St. Joe on the latter’s field Friday night.

Port St. Joe among those who played last week, making a winner of coach Tanner Jones in his debut with his new team. The Sharks going last Friday and beating Marianna 34-26.

Now they have their sights set on their home opener against Vernon.

There’s so much to be learned in the first game of the season, and coach Jones felt like they accomplished that missing, with both some positives and negatives in the wake of that road win.

“I mean I think our guys definitely surprised me.” coach Jones told me Wednesday. “I was worried about physicality and and how good a shape we were in. And those were the two things that kind of stood out to me. Definitely we need to work on tackling, I think we missed about 20,000 tackles Friday night. That would have definitely helped out a bunch. But you know it’s the first game, And we didn’t get spring. You know we’ve got guys out that we’re not sure if they are sure tacklers or not yet. But I would say work on tackling and special-teams.”

I asked the coach if he felt having played last Friday was any kind of advantage over a Vernon team that has not played yet, and he answered this way.

“I think it’s 50-50. You know for us, we do have a game under us.” Jones said. “We do know a little more about what we have and what we need to work on. But at the same time we’re also a little banged up right now. That Marianna team is a physical team. And they’ll hit you. What they do offensively will definitely put a strain on your body. So I think that’s gonna hurt us a little bit. As far as Vernon goes, they’re real athletic, they should be healthy. They’re fired up, I’m sure they’ll be ready to play, so it will be fun right out of the gate.”

I then posed a similar question to Vernon head coach Gerald Tranquille, his team not yet getting to play.

“Any time you can get those live reps and simulate that game speed, because it’s hard to do that in practice. So I would put it more like 60-40 with them having actual game speed.” said Tranquille. "But we try to do what we can. And we actually went over and watched them a little bit and were impressed with them and we know it’s going to be a great challenge for us. But if I had to put a percentage on it, I’d have to say it’s more 60-40 than 50-50.

Whatever the case, they will play Friday, and for coach Tranquille and his Jackets, it can’t come soon enough, he told me Wednesday night.

“We had to back them off a little bit today because they’ve been beating up on our scout team a lot. And they’re really excited and just can’t wait, ready for the opportunity to play on Friday.”

That game in Port St. Joe Friday set for 7:30 eastern time and is one of the games we’ll feature on Friday Night Overtime.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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