Jones decision causes football scheduling problems

Published 7:55 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

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Jones High School’s recent decision to drop to 8-man football in the fall is causing consternation as fellow Coastal Plains Conference schools scramble to find a replacement on the schedule.
Before the Trojans announced their decision, all Coastal Plains Conference teams including Northside and Southside had a 10-game schedule.

Jones struggled through an 0-10 season in which they scored their only two touchdowns all year in a 58-14 loss at Lejeune in Week Six. Most of their games ended with a running clock early in the second half. The Trojans last winning season came in 2011, when they went 10-5 and lost in the 1A state championship game to Murphy, 21-6. The Trojans struggled with injuries this fall and finished the season with 19 players.

“I understand their situation and feel bad for them, but I wish they would have made this decision much earlier,” Southside coach Jeff Carrow said. “Coming this late, pretty much all of our potential non-conference opponents have already filled their schedules. Jones was supposed to come to us this year, so a replacement opponent has to do the same so we won’t lose the gate revenue. It’s a tough situation for everybody involved.”

Carrow said he’s contacted several potential opponents, but none have been able to adjust their schedules to play the Seahawks.
The CPC is down to five teams for football, Northside, Southside, Pamlico Co., Lejeune and 2A East Carteret, which means just four league games for each school.

The decision puts Northside in a similar bind. Complicating matters is that most teams are in the second year of a home and home contract with non-conference opponents, so there’s even less flexibility.

“We had this happen last year when South Creek merged with Riverside to form the Martin Co. team, but they weren’t in our conference,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “Right now, we are looking at a nine game regular season, which is not ideal, but it might be the best we can do. We were supposed to play them at home as well, so we lose a home gate.”

Both coaches ruled out playing each other twice, which has happened before. Boyd and Carrow said it would be too difficult to switch things around for a second game between the county rivals.

“I guess we are both looking at two bye weeks unless something shakes loose,” Carrow said. “I hope they can keep their program going and can come back next year.”