Sunshine seeks first win

Published 10:28 pm Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunshine (0-4) will be seeking its first win of the season Friday night when it takes the field at John Essex in a 1A, Region 3 clash of winless teams.

“We’re both desperate for a win,” Sunshine head coach Jonathan Jenkins said.

Jenkins said he anticipates a difficult, hard-nosed team against the Hornets.

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“They’re going to compete regardless. John Essex is one of those teams that traditionally hits you for 48 minutes,” Jenkins said. “They’re one of those teams we struggled with more than some of those teams that beat us on the scoreboard.”

Jenkins’ team, which started the season with consecutive region losses to Billingsley, Maplesville and Holy Spirit before falling to Marengo in out-of-region play last week, will boast a different look in its backfield Friday night. The team lost star tailback Tevin Griffin during the fourth quarter of the Marengo game. Reportedly, Griffin sustained a dislocated ankle, an injury that will sideline the junior for the remainder of this campaign.

“It’s a big, heavy weight on me,” running back Shaun McCalpine said of the role he will be called upon to fill in Griffin’s absence. “I’ve got to come out and show the team and show everybody that even though one of our great backs is out, we’ve still got to bring it.”

“Shaun is the only speed back we have,” Jenkins said. “We actually finished the (Marengo) ball game with three power backs in the backfield.” In addition to McCalpine, the Tigers are expected to rely heavily upon Adrian Davis and Rodrigus Evans to fill the offensive void left by Griffin.

“Where we’re going to miss Tevin the most is defense,” Jenkins said. “He has a nose for the football and is probably the second leading tackler right now. That’s going to be a little question as to what we’re going to do in that Sam linebacker, strong safety position.”

While the team has yet to determine who will man those defensive spots, Jenkins said it has found some stability along its offensive line.

“The offensive line really matured Friday night,” Jenkins said before adding that his defense showed considerable progress. “Our defense had their backs against the wall. We had four times we held (Marengo) inside the 20.”

“We’ve just got to work on our mistakes a little harder,” senior quarterback Jermaine Hood said. “For the past four games, we haven’t gone all four quarters. We’ve got to stop making mistakes.”

Jenkins conceded that the Tigers have weathered the meatiest portion of their schedule, but also added that the remaining games carry more meaning for his players.

“With the exception of Autaugaville, we’ve these teams before,” Jenkins said. “I think that’s what we need is to play somebody we have some emotion with.”

“We’re still making the run for 6-4,” Hood said. “6-4 is the playoffs. We’ll see what happens at the end of the season. But if we want to go 6-4, it’s got to start now, this week.”

“We’ve got to win all these games from here on out,” McCalpine added. “I believe we will.”