After a rousing start to their home football season, Bartow High School is encouraging fans to get their tickets early for this week's home game against George Jenkins. To avoid long game time lines, fans are encouraged to stop by Bartow High School during regular school hours to purchase tickets in advance. Those who purchase their tickets early can then take advantage of a special gate that will be opened for those who already have tickets. The fans who wait until game night will purchase their tickets at the usual location.
Long lines were evident several minutes after kickoff last Friday when the Jackets beat the Lake Region Thunder, 44-14. An even larger crowd is expected due to the proximity of the visiting team.
Bartow head coach Jason Butler reviewed the Lake Region game Monday night during the weekly football gathering at Beef ‘O’ Brady's in Bartow.
"It was very close in the first half," he said of Bartow's 14-7 advantage at the break. "They came in and did what we thought they would do. They kept the ball for eight minutes and scored on their opening drive. They pushed us around early, but it was good to see our boys respond."
Lake Region's mastery over the Bartow squad was short-lived as the game proved to be two different types of games — close in the first half and Bartow-dominated in the second half. The defense simply halted any hope of the Thunder scoring on nearly every play with Bartow taking offensive advantage and adding two special teams touchdowns. The defense also backed up the Lake Region offense to the end zone and recorded a safety on a bad snap from a punt attempt.
Tre Jordan was selected as the Bartow offensive player of the game. Jordan worked a masterful pattern into the end zone to score the first touchdown, then added a pair of 60-yard punt returns for scores in the game.
Keyshawn Martin was selected as the defensive player of the game. A member of the defensive secondary, Martin made plenty of tackles from his position, stopping potential long gainers while coming up to assist linebackers. Martin also delivered a textbook block on one of Jordan's punt returns that essentially cleared the way for the touchdown.
This week's foe, George Jenkins, is a district rival for 2013. Bartow has played the Eagles many times over the past 10 years, but recently has encountered the team as the pre-season Kickoff Classic contest. Head coach Richard Tate is in his first year with this program, but Tate's extensive coaching experience in the county provides good incentive for George Jenkins. Butler pointed out that Tate and his brother were on the Bartow staff when he (Butler) was a student at Bartow.
George Jenkins put up 35 points against Winter Haven last week, losing a 50-35 game. The Eagles are looking for their first win after falling to Lake Gibson 36-0 in the season opener, then dropping a 27-12 contest at Lake Wales.
"This is going to a physical contest," said Butler. "If you like physical football, this will be a game you will want to see."
On Thursday, the Bartow JV squad will host the George Jenkins JV team. Bartow opened their season last week with a home game against Lake Region. The Junior Jackets prevailed 47-0 in that game. Thursday's JV game and Friday's varsity game start at 7 p.m. on their respective nights.