Goal line battle

Walnut Grove’s Nolan Yancey (21) tries to rip a ball from Social Circle’s KJ Reid during the Warriors’ 13-6 win. Walnut Grove begins region play Friday against Jackson County.

Game of the Week

  • Who: Jackson County (2-1) at Walnut Grove (1-2)
  • When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
  • Where: Warrior Stadium, Walnut Grove
  • Series: Jackson County leads series 2-1
  • Last: Jackson County 20, Walnut Grove 0 (Oct. 2, 2020)

Following a thrilling victory over cross-county rival Social Circle two weeks ago, the Warriors took the week off to prep for the Region 8-AAAAA portion of its schedule.

They’ll be looking to improve on last year’s 2-5 league mark and make the playoffs for the first time since 2016, which was the only time they’ve advanced to the postseason.

Their opponent is trying to snap a four-year playoff drought.

Jackson is in its fourth season under legendary head coach Rich McWhorter, who spent 28 years and won four state championships at Charlton County before taking over the Panthers program in 2019.

Jackson has never been a consistent winner, having had just one season over .500 since the turn of the century. Under McWhorter, they are making slow but steady progress. They won three games in each of his first two season and four last fall, despite making a huge jump from Class AAA to AAAAA.

The Panthers are playing their inaugural season in a new stadium, and so far they are a perfect 2-0 at home, including wins over county rival East Jackson and Frankin County.

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