Special to the Journal
OKOLONA – First-year Okolona coach Jack Clark loves the position his team is in heading into division play next 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.