Unbeaten Jefferson Clicking on All Cylinders at Halfway Point
[By Stephen Amason, Special to ETSN.fm]
Jefferson football coach Antwain Jimmerson spoke about upgrading the schedule this previous offseason, playing some bigger schools, even if it meant possibly losing a couple.
“We talked as a team and we knew that first two teams that we would play are good 4A schools and probably gonna be picked to beat us,” Jimmerson said Tuesday. “Realistically I had to ask my players, ‘hey can you handle being 0-2’?”
His player said, “yes, we’ll be fine.”
The Jefferson Bulldogs not only won those first two games against 4A schools Pittsburgh and Center, they’re 5-0 (1-0 District 7-3A Division I).
In those five games they’ve outscored their opponents, 249-56. The last three games however, they’ve outscored the opposing team, 172-7 and they average just shy of 50 points a game.
“It all starts with the guys up front, they’re the unsung heroes,” Jimmerson said in reference to is offensive line. “We hired a new offensive line coach this year, Stephen Barnes. He’s done a good job of keeping things fun and raising the expectation level. That group is really doing a good job for us”.
Bulldogs junior quarterback Kylan Thomas so far has 931 total yards and nine TDs. Thomas took over the starting role when starter Trey Hodge went down due to injury in the season opener against Pittsburg.
“We never looked at Kylan Thomas as the backup,” Jimmerson said. “Fortunately he was already on the field playing some corner, some receiver, he returns kicks. It really helps when the guy stepping up understands the speed and flow of the game. He can run, he can throw, he’s really done a good job”.
Another key to Jefferson’s offensive success has been senior wide-receiver TQ Jackson. He committed to the University of Arkansas this past summer. Jackson has 321 yards receiving, averages 29.1 yards per catch, and has four touchdowns.
He is a four-year starter and one of the leaders of the team.
“His leadership has been outstanding,” Jimmerson said. “His work ethic has always been here from the time he got on campus, There’s no doubt he can catch the football but one of the most impressive things about Jackson is his blocking down field.
Recently TQ posted on Twitter, “I take pride in blocking for my brothers, they gotta eat too.”
“We see him down field making blocks and he really takes a lot of pride in it,” Jimmerson said. “He’s unselfish, works hard, a great kid, he’s really a great human being.”
The defense is led by defensive end Eric Gipson (Texas State commit), who has seven sacks on the year.
“Anytime you have any success in stopping the run, it starts with the guys up front,” Jimmerson said. “Our kids know how important it is to pursue the ball. We know we’re gonna get blocked, you’re gonna get knocked down but, are you gonna get up and pursue the ball with reckless abandonment?”
This Friday night is Jefferson’s homecoming and they have another district game against Hughes Springs (2-3, 0-1).
“They have one the most tradition rich programs around here, they’re a perennial playoff team,” Jimmerson said. “Anytime you play them you expect it to be a physical ball game. We just gotta play our game. Defensively, we gotta get them off the field and offensively we got play mistake-free football and continue to do what we do.”