First-year Okolona coach Jack Clark loves the position his team is in heading into division play this weekend.
The Chieftains capped off a tough opening schedule with an impressive 24-6 victory over Shannon on Friday night.
Okolona has played four straight teams that are in a higher classification and won half of those contests.
“They’re really starting to work hard and come together,” said Clark. “It was a big win for the kids and the community and for me as a coach.”
The senior leadership of Jay Collins and Jacolbi Heard carried the Chieftains (3-2). Heard led Okolona downfield quickly on its first series.
He completed a 43-yard pass to J.C. Buchanan that brought Okolona into the red zone. Heard did the rest by foot with a touchdown run of 16 yards to cap a 3-play, 61-yard drive for an early 8-0 advantage.
Collins inserted himself into the game shortly after and recovered a fumble to put the Chieftains in business again. Dequin Babbit’s short scoring plunge and two-point conversion put Okolona up 16-0 six minutes into the first quarter.
Rakeem Bogan made the play of the game just before halftime when he leaped over a defender to snag a Heard pass, balanced himself with his right hand and raced to the end zone for a 58-yard touchdown.
Heard completed 9 of 16 passes for 157 yards and added 104 rushing yards on 13 carries.
“I’d say I’m doing a great job of keeping my offense right,” said Heard. “We all stayed on the same page and we executed well.”
Collins stayed in the Red Raider (2-3) backfield all night, with three sacks and multiple QB hurries.
“It seemed like they just took us easy,” Collins said. “We practiced hard for this. I had to come out strong for my defense.”
Shannon scored on a 48-yard touchdown pass from JT Loving to Diamonta Stubbs. Loving finished with 150 yards passing.
Welcoming the Wolverines
Even with the Chieftains success against higher classification teams, Clark doesn’t discount the East Webster team his Chiefs will host Friday.
“As far as this past Friday goes, our kids had a good week of preparation and it showed up on the field,” Clark said. “East Webster is 6-0 and have the best record in the division.”
The Wolverines are coming off a 33-20 win over J.Z. George and will break their division schedule with Okolona.
“It’s going to take another week of great preparation and winning the special teams and turnover battle to have a shot,” Clark said.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and Homecoming will take place at halftime.