Antwain Jimmerson’s Jefferson Team is Riding High After Six Straight Wins + Upset of White Oak
Antwain Jimmerson has won pretty much everywhere he's been involved with the game of football.
He won a Class 3A state championship as a senior at Jefferson High School, played Division I football at Tulsa and stuck around Oklahoma to be on the sidelines for two of the state's storied programs -- Jenks and Booker T. Washington.
Jimmerson won four state championships as an assistant at Jenks and went to two -- winning one -- as the head coach at Booker T. Washington.
After doing a short stint at Irving High as an assistant, he got the call in 2015. It was time to come home.
"Just to be able to come home was such a great opportunity. I love this place. I wanted to come home and do a good job for our community and our kids," Jimmerson said. "I truly feel like I could live anywhere, and if you can live anywhere then you can live at home. There's nothing like being home."
His first season at Jefferson was a speed bump when the Bulldogs finished with a 2-8 record. But this season is an entirely different story.
Jefferson goes into Friday's game with a 7-2 record on the season and a flawless 4-0 in District 8-3A Division I. The Bulldogs are coming off a 35-20 upset win over No. 4 White Oak, which gave them the district title.
"It was really big because White Oak has always done a great job against us. We've struggled against them athletically," Jimmerson said. "Of our 12-man staff six played football here at Jefferson and none of us knew what it was like to lose to White Oak, but we were coaching kids who had never beat them. It was good getting over the hump."
Sophomore Trey Hodge, in just his second varsity start at quarterback, connected with sophomore T.Q. Jackson five times in the win, with two going for long touchdowns of 92 and 65 yards. Jackson finished with 245 yards receiving in the game.
"I coached (former NFL receiver) Robert Meacham at Booker T. and he didn't have the stats T.Q. is putting up right now," Jimmerson said. "T.Q. is so young but he's a mature young guy. He keeps his mouth close, his helmet on and he just goes to work."
Jackson is averaging more than 30 yards per catch this season and nearly half of his receptions have been for touchdowns. At this point he has 31 receptions for 955 yards and 13 scores through nine games.
Outside of his young playmakers, Jimmerson said this year's team is being carried by its older players.
"We're very thankful for our senior leadership. We only have nine seniors, but they have done a really great job for us," Jimmerson said. "Our starting quarterback quit the Tuesday before our game against Sabine and they did a great job keeping things together and keeping our guys positive. To be here a year and struggle through a 2-8 season and stay the course, we've started to understand that we have some good stones in place. We just have to keep building."
Jefferson has had some big wins this year and its two losses are by a combined seven points, including a two-point loss to Waskom in double overtime to start the season. But it was last week's win against White Oak that will set the tone for what Jefferson faces here on out, Jimmerson said.
"No. 1, it shows we've got a group of guys who know that it can be done. When I was here we had good coaches, played hard and didn't want to let each other down, and that's just how we went about it. We want to do the same thing now," Jimmerson said. "We've instilled the effort part of it, but our goal is that our kids are productive citizens and they get a great education here. We always feel like the football part will take care of itself."