After going 2-8 overall and 0-6 against district opponents in 2020, Jefferson’s football team was predicted to have another losing season in 2021.
“I haven’t looked at Dave Campbell’s yet but I guess we were predicted to go 0-10,” Jefferson athletic director and head football coach Antwain Jimmerson said.
“It gives us a lot of motivation to come out and prove them wrong,” senior linebacker Trent Miles said.
“We’ve proven them wrong already,” Parker Grubbs, another senior linebacker added.
The Bulldogs are now 4-0 overall and 1-0 in district play. Grubbs currently has 28 tackles, one sack, two tackles for a loss, one pass broken up and one fumble recovery. Miles has 48 tackles, one sack, two tackles for a loss, four interceptions and five broken up passes.
“Linebacker is the only position on our team where we’ve got a bunch of seniors,” Jimmerson said. “The three starting linebackers, you’ve got those two who start and Ryan Yeater. By me being a linebacker myself, I played linebacker here and I played linebacker in college, I really put a lot of pressure on those guys. I know I do and those three, I pulled them aside last week at halftime and I had to apologize to them. I was so frustrated with the officiating and I told those three, ‘I’m sorry. There were some adjustments we could have made but I was so frustrated with the officiating that I didn’t communicate it with you guys.’ They know I love them. I push them. They’re a group that if anything goes bad on defense, I’m going to them first and they know it. I’ve got high expectations of them. They play hard. None of them are really big but they’re athletic guys. They run well. They’re physical and they just enjoy playing.
“Those seniors don’t care about other kids’ names being called,” Jimmerson continued. “If you’re a guy who’s going to contribute to making us better, they’ll put their arms around you and say, ‘Yes, we want you here.’ It says a lot about them. They’ve stayed the course when other people don’t think they’ll be very good. They definitely deserve a lot of credit for that.”
The seniors are motivated by the fact this is their last year of playing high school football and they want to get the bad taste of a 2-8 season out of their mouths.
“It’s already hit me,” Grubbs said. “It hit me like a freight train. It was like, ‘Well, this is my last year.’”
“We’re going to fight until the end,” Miles offered. “We’re going to make sure everybody is on the same page, that we all understand we have one goal as a team.”
That’s the same tactic the Bulldogs will look to take tonight when they play host to the Sabine Tigers who currently own an overall record of 4-2 and a district record of 2-0.
“We’ve got to take No. 7 (quarterback Jace Bursn), out, really,” Grubbs said. “Do our assignments.”
“We’ve got to be very discipline, play with our eyes,” Miles added. “Play fast.”
“Shoot, their quarterback is a really, really good player,” Jimmerson said. “He’s a bigger, physical kid. He runs well. He throws the ball well. Like our kids said, stopping him is going to be the key.
“This is our homecoming and our guys have done a good job of blocking out all that stuff,” Jimmerson continued. “I’ve been reminding the kids the most important thing about homecoming is the game. For a lot of kids, it’s the first time a lot of people see you play because they come home for the homecoming game.”
The seniors are motivated to win for their fans who spend their time and money to watch their Bulldogs.
“It gives us a lot of motivation because our fans come to watch us even though last year, we did not have a good record but we’re here to show them different,” Miles said.