Defense powers Gryphons to 2-0
The Thomas Jefferson Gryphons may be 2-0, but head coach Jerry Cash is far from satisfied.
“Yes, we have won a couple of games, but we can still do so much better, especially on offense,” he said. “We should have scored a few more points against Rosman, particularly early. We could have put the game away.”
TJCA forced the Tigers into four first half turnovers, but only converted those miscues into six points.
One of those turnovers, however, kept the game tying score off the board. The Rosman fullback had broken through the TJCA line and galloped 53 yards toward the endzone. Tyler Mitchell ran him down from behind, stripped the ball, and recovered it at the 12 yard line.
“That was a huge play,” said Cash. “If he scores right there, it’s a whole different ballgame.”
Mitchell’s play was no accident.
“We do turnover circuits everyday in practice for situations just like that,” said Cash. “I think the kids get tired of doing them, but it paid off in a big play.”
The rest of the Gryphon defense also turned in a stellar effort in the first half. TJCA held the Tigers to just one first down in the half. In the second, they did surrender 13 points, but stiffened on the final drive to preserve the win.
“They got some things going in the second half,” Cash said. “It wasn’t so much that we did anything wrong. Rosman started making plays with their fullback. We were determined not to let the quarterback or pitchman beat us and the fullback just made some great runs."
With no timeouts left and down by eight points, Rosman was forced to put the ball in the air on their final drive. Efrim Borders read Josh Rice’s final pass and picked it off to seal the victory.
“Efrim made a great play,” said Cash. “I was yelling for him to go down because the game was over. I’ve seen people fumble on a play like that and the other team return it for a score. He learned from it though for next time.”
Borders also came up with a pair of big plays on offense, scoring two rushing touchdowns. He now has six total scores through two games this season. Borders second touchdown came on a busted play out of the wildcat formation to give TJCA a 21-0 lead.
“The snap was a little too high for him, so he had people all around him,” said Cash. “ Efrim made them all miss and ran for a touchdown. You just can’t coach that.”
Borders and the rest of the Gryphons now must turn their attention to the Avery Vikings in their first home game of the season.
“It will be nice not to get on a bus to travel,” said Cash. “But Avery is going to give us a challenge, especially coming off a big win. We had a poor practice today so have to get better. I’ve said before, if we play well we can beat anybody. Friday’s game is no different, but we have to play well.”