Ken Jones wanted to personally show Jermaine Brooks just how good South Carolina State's defense is this season.
But Jones, a former Glenn Hills standout, won't get the chance. When Brooks' Tigers visit Orangeburg today for a 6 p.m. meeting, Jones will be on the sideline.
The 6-foot-3, 270-pound tight end and defensive end broke his right index finger on the first play from scrimmage in their season opener at Morris Brown last week.
The senior was making a block when he got his finger caught in the shoulder pad of the defender. Jones is expected to be out two to four weeks.
It would have been the first time Brooks and Jones faced each other since Brooks was the star quarterback for Josey and Jones lined up at defensive end for the Spartans in 1996.
Jones played only tight end in the Bulldogs' 42-26 victory last season in Savannah, but began pulling double duty midway through the season.
"I was really looking forward to sacking him a few times, just like I did in high school," Jones said. "Just to remind him where I come from. But now all I can do is root for our defense. We're trying to bring respect back to the defense. And we're looking real good."
The Bulldogs' defense gave up 41 points per game last season with a high of 66 and a low of only 20.
So how pleased was Jones to see South Carolina State take a 21-7 victory over Morris Brown last week?
"Both the offense and defense played well," he said. "This team wants to win, really bad. We want to send coach (Willie Jeffries) out a winner. Of course we made some mistakes here and there that we need to work on. But overall, we're confident."
Brooks and the Tigers didn't share the same success to start the season, suffering a thumping 69-6 defeat to Georgia Southern last week.
Savannah State, which is competing in Division I-AA for the first time, never stood a chance against the defending national champions.
Brooks, however, fared well against one of the nation's toughest defenses. The senior quarterback rushed 19 times for 90 yards and completed eight of 16 pass attempts for 40 yards.
The former Eagle will try to give Savannah State its first victory in the series against the Bulldogs. South Carolina State is 7-0 against the Tigers.
"Jermaine is a great quarterback, and I look for them to be competitive whenever he's on the field," Jones said. "But we've got a lot of high goals for the season, and that means going into every game thinking win. I'm going to miss being out there. But when I come back, I'll be full go, ready to be a part of something special."
Reach Patrick Green at (706) 823-3221.
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