THE WINNFIELD VS. JONESBORO-HODGE
SERIES (1919 to 2017)
Louisiana and Jonesboro-Hodge, Louisiana are separated by 24 pine-tree filled miles. There is little that separates
the two when it comes to high school football. To complicate matters, both schools use the Tiger as their mascot.
For each school, the other school represents the one school that each program has played the most. Through the 2017
season, the two programs have met 90 times on the football field, easily the most number of times each school has faced any
opponent. Also, the two schools have faced each other every year since the 1945 season, a period that covered 73
consecutive years through the 2017 season. That is one of the longest-running series in the state. The overall
series record shows just how close the series is, with Winnfield holding a 47-41-2 lead in the series. For Winnfield,
those wins and losses represent the most wins and losses they have against any opponent.
Winnfield has an overall 27-16-1 record in home games against
Jonesboro-Hodge in all home venues and a commanding 2O-7-0 record in home games played in Stokes-Walker Stadium, which
opened in 1964. Jonesboro-Hodge holds a 25-20-1 record against Winnfield in games played on their home field.
Winnfield and Jonesboro-Hodge have opened the season against
each other 28 times, with Winnfield winning 18 of those season-openers and Jonesboro winning 10.
The two have been in the same district 27 different years. Winnfield
holds a lead in district games with a slim 14-13-0 margin. Those district games have come in four phases.
The first phase occurred between 1946 and 1954. During that period the two played nine consecutive years and Winnfield
only went 2-7-0 against Jonesboro. The second short phase occurred between 1962 and 1965. Winnfield did not win
any of the four district games played in that four year stretch. The third phase occurred between 1973 and 1984 when
the two were in the same district 12 consecutive years. Winnfield dominated the series during this phase with a 10-2
record. The two teams are in the midst of the fourth phase that began in 2013. Winnfield won both the 2013
and 2014 contest.
As for the Winnfield vs. Jonesboro-Hodge series itself,
there have been a few blowout wins – see Winnfield (1919, 1928, 1974, 1982, 1995, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2012
and 2013) or Jonesboro (1937, 1938, 1951, 1953, 1993). However, that has not been the norm. In about a quarter of
the games played (25 of 90) the final outcome of the game was decided by one touchdown or less and in close to half of the
games (40 of 90) the final outcomes was two touchdowns or less. Winnfield has played in seven overtime games in the
history of the program. Three of those came against Jonesboro-Hodge, with Jonesboro winning the first (1977) by a score
of 7-0, Winnfield winning the second (1979) by a 7-6 margin and Winnfield taking the third in 2009 by a 20-13 margin.
Series progression summary:
The following shows how the series record has progressed. Winnfield won the inaugural game played between the two, that
coming in 1919. During the 1920s Winnfield won four of five games played and the two split the other to give Winnfield
a 4-0-1 series record at the end of the decade. Winnfield then lost the next six games to Jonesboro (all in the 1930s), the
longest losing streak that Winnfield has faced in the series. That moved the series record to 6-4-1 in favor of Jonesboro.
Coming into the 2009 season Winnfield had not been at or above .500 in the series record since then. Jonesboro pretty
much dominated the series in the 1940s and 1950s as they had a 14-6-1 record over Winnfield in those two decades. That
moved the series record to 20-10-2 in favor of Jonesboro as the series moved into the 1960s. The two schools split the ten
games played in the 1960s, moving the series record to 25-15-2. Then, it was over the course of the 1970s and 1980s
and Wininfield closed the gap in the series record significantly. Winnfield won five of seven games played between 1970 and
1977 to move the series record to 27-20-2 in favor or Jonesboro. The two teams played some classic district battles
between 1978 and 1983 and Winnfield won all six of those to move the series record to 27-26-2 in favor of Winnfield.
With a chance to finally get the series record back to .500 with a win in 1984, Winnfield lost that game by a five point margin
and also lost four of the next six games played between the two in the 1980s which allowed Jonesboro-Hodge to move into the
1990s with a 31-28-2 record. Jonesboro-Hodge won five of seven games played between 1990 and 1996 to widen their command of
the series record to 36-30-2. Then, beginning with a win in the 1998 game, Winnfield reeled off seven straight wins. Jonesboro
snapped that losing streak with a 12-0 win in 2005 and gained a win in 2006 after Winnfield was forced to forfiet an 8-6 win
because of the use of an ineligible player. Winnfield has won ten straight since 2006 to move seven
games ahead in the series at 47-40-2. Since the 2000 season, Winnfield has won 15 of the 17 games played between
Games - The series is marked by decisive wins for district titles, more than one fight (on both the field and by the stands),
a “skunking” of a team bus, upsets and comebacks. There have been two interesting periods in the series
that deal with season-ending and season-beginning games. Between 1979 and 1982 the two schools were not only in the
same district, but the game between the two was played the final week of the regular season with the district crown on
the line. In each of those four games Winnfield defeated Jonesboro. In the 1980 game, though Winnfield defeated
Jonesboro by a score of 14-12, and even though Winnfield and Jonesboro ended the year with identical single-loss district
records, a third member of the district (Mansfield) also ended the year with a single loss, having already lost to Jonesboro
by 17 point margin, but having beaten Winnfield by an 8-point margin. That was before wild cards and power points, so
the method used to break ties in district standings was comparable score. Since Mansfield had defeated
Winnfield by an 8-point margin earlier in the season (making that the only district loss Winnfield would face between 1978
and 1983) , it would take a 9-point win by Winnfield over Jonesboro-Hodge to secure the runner-up spot in the district.
And, since Jonesboro had defeated Mansfield by 17 points, Winnfield would have to exceed that margin to overtake Jonesboro-Hodge
as the district champion. No matter the outcome, Jonesboro-Hodge was in the playoffs. Mansfield was in the playoffs
by either a Jonesboro-Hodge defeat of Winnfield or a win by Winnfield of 8 points or less. For one of the few times
in Tiger football history a Tiger coach was playing for points as much or more than he was playing for a win.
Winnfield did in fact defeat Jonesboro, but the final score was 14-12, not enough to gain the Tigers entry into the playoffs,
where Jonesboro not only competed but went on to compete in the Class AA state title game.
The next year, the two teams were again in a situation
where they met in the final game of the year to decide the district crown, only in 1981 the winner of the game would be the
district champion and the loser would be the runner up. Jonesboro jumped out to a 29-0 second quarter lead thanks mainly
to a fumble-prone Winnfield team. Winnfield then staged the biggest comeback in the program’s history by scoring
34 unanswered points to overtake Jonesboro and walk away with not only a 34-29 win, but another district crown.
When the two teams met in the season-openers for both
the 1988 and 1989 seasons, the two schools weren’t in the same district. However, enthusiasm in season-openers
is usually sky-high, and particularly so when these two met. In both of these years Winnfield was playing in Class AAA,
while Jonesboro was in Class AA. The Tigers of Winnfield defeated the Tigers of Jonesboro in both of those games, which
for Winnfield was only one of four wins in the 1988 season and one of eight wins in the 1989 season. What made those
wins all the more special for Winnfield fans was the fact that Jonesboro went on to win the Class AA state crown in each of
There have been several
times when one program came into the contest with a much better record than the other but went down to defeat. Likewise,
there have been few times when either program has been able to establish any sort of winning-streak in the series. In
fact, there have only been five times in the series when either team established a winning streak that lasted five years or
longer, with Winnfield holding three of those and Jonesboro-Hodge hold two of those streaks: Winnfield's steaks include
10 straight (2007-2016), 7 straight (1998-2004) and 6 straight 1978-1983). Jonesboro's streaks include 9 straight (1930
and 1938) and 5 straight (1949 and 1953).
Rushing – The best individual rushing performance by a Tiger player against Jonesboro-Hodge came in 2016 when T.
J. Meyers gained 252 yards on 19 carries. Cornelius Patterson has the longest scoring run a Winnfield player
has ever had against Jonesboro-Hodge, that coming in 1999 when he went 94 yards for one of this two rushing touchdowns
that night. It is rare for a Tiger back to rush for four or more touchdowns in a single game, as that has only happened just
over two dozen times. Travion Johnson added his name to that list with four rushing touchdowns against Jonesboro-Hodge in
the 2004 game, with two of those going for more than 48 yards.
Passing and Receiving – In the 1971 contest QB Steve Adams set a new school record with 228 passing
yards in that 34-7 win. That mark has only been surpassed twice. In that same contest Jerry Keen completed a halfback pass
for 13 yards to give the team 241 passing yards. That set and remains the single-game team passing yardage record at the school.
Adams’ favorite target in that 1971 contest was tight end Greg Wagoner, who caught 9 of Adams’ 14 completions.
That too set a school receiving record, upping Wagoner’s own school record of 8 catches from two weeks earlier against
Leesville. Wagoner’s mark was tied twice by Eric Caldwell during the 1986 season and Freddie King set a new school mark
with 11 catches against Bunkie in 1998. Another rarity is games in which a receiver catches two or more passes for touchdowns.
Jared Beville joined that group with two TD receptions in the 1999 Winnfield vs. Jonesboro-Hodge contest – the same
game in which Cornelius Patterson rushed for 228 yard.
Returns – The longest returns for a touchdown by a Winnfield player in the Jonesboro-Hodge series include
a 67 yard punt return by John Wayne Williams in the 1971. That was one of Williams’ five school-record punt returns
for a touchdown that year. The other longest scores by return in the series include an 87 kickoff return by E. J. Smith in
1991, an 80 yard interception return by Andrew Riggs in the championship 1982 season and a 46 yard fumble return by Monte
Jarnigan in 1969.
Team Offense or Defense – The high water mark for team passing came in the
aforementioned 1971 contest. The most team rushing yards gained by a Winnfield squad against Jonesboro-Hodge came in 1991
when the locals ran for 469 yards in a 38-35 loss. The most total yards came in the 47-6 regular season finale of the 1982
season when Winnfield gained 488 total yards. Easily the best defensive game ever played by a Winnfield team against Jonesboro-Hodge
came in 1972, when Winnfield held Jonesboro-Hodge to 1 first down (still a school record), 4 yards rushing and 21 yards passing.
Winnfield secured a 19-0 win in that contest and recorded the program’s 17 consecutive regular season win over a three-season
period. That is still a school record. In that stretch the respective Tiger defenses posted eight shutouts and allowed
only one team (Jena, 1971) to post more than one touchdown.
Both schools are from
small towns, both towns depend on the timber industry as the primary economic base, both schools use the Tiger as their mascot
and both schools wear the colors red and white. In large measure, the Winnfield – Jonesboro-Hodge series is what
small town high school football is all about.
64 – 0 Winnfield
13 – 0 Winnfield
0 – 0
28 – 0 Winnfield
50 – 0 Winnfield
0 – 21 Jonesboro
0 – 27 Jonesboro
0 – 18 Jonesboro
7 – 14 Jonesboro
0 – 57 Jonesboro
0 – 46 Jonesboro
3 – 12 Winnfield
(1) 0 – 0
1940 (2)7 -12
7 – 14 Jonesboro
25 – 33 Jonesboro
19 – 7 Winnfield
0 – 33 Jonesboro
0 – 12 Jonesboro
0 – 7 Jonesboro
7 – 0 Winnfield
0 – 37 Jonesboro
0 –12 Jonesboro
0 – 40 Jonesboro
7 –16 Jonesboro
12 – 52 Jonesboro
14 – 7 Winnfield
7 – 21 Jonesboro
32 – 19 Winnfield
7 – 28 Jonesboro
18 – 32 Jonesboro
6 – 0 Winnfield
20 – 7 Winnfield
39 – 28 Winnfield
14 – 33 Jonesboro
0 –13 Jonesboro
0 –21 Jonesboro
0 – 34 Jonesboro
14 – 13 Winnfield
0 –13 Jonesboro
14 – 0 Winnfield
28 – 20 Winnfield
8 – 27 Jonesboro
34 – 7 Winnfield
19 – 0 Winnfield
7 –13 Jonesboro
41 – 6 Winnfield
23 – 8 Winnfield
32 – 6 Winnfield
0 – 7(ot) Jonesboro
1978 41 –
1979 7 –
1980 14 – 12
34 – 29 Winnfield
47 – 6 Winnfield
19 – 14 Winnfield
14 – 19 Jonesboro
7 – 13 Jonesboro
0 – 7 Jonesboro
0 – 28 Jonesboro
13 – 12 Winnfield
14 – 6 Winnfield
20 – 38 Jonesboro
35 – 38 Jonesboro
12 – 21 Jonesboro
0 – 40 Jonesboro
32 – 8 Winnfield
57 – 6 Winnfield
9 – 30 Jonesboro
20 – 41 Jonesboro
32 – 6 Winnfield
38 – 15 Winnfield
38 – 7 Winnfield
28 –14 Winnfield
28 – 0 Winnfield
44 - 14 Winnfield
34 - 0 Winnfield
0 – 12
8 - 6 Jonesboro (though Winnfield outscored
J-H, this game was later forfeited, as result of Winnfield using ineligible player)
20-13 (OT) Winnfield