TJCA welcomes Asheville School
Thomas Jefferson (2-1) has had a fortnight (a unit of time equal to 14 days) to recover from their first loss of the season and now they are ready to get back on the field.
“We have had some really good practices and a really good work ethic for two weeks,” said Gryphons head coach Jerry Cash. “But now we are tired of practicing. We are ready to play.”
The Gryphons are also fully recovered from the injuries that caused several key players to miss the Avery game.
“We have had a little contact in practice and everybody dressed and looked good to go.”
TJCA may not need that extra depth this week as they face the winless Ashville School Blues (0-2) in Avondale tonight. In two games so far this season, the Blues have surrendered 91 points and scored 35.
“Yes, they have struggled some on defense this season, but they are a very dangerous team on offense,” said Cash. “They have some speed that concerns me. We can’t afford to take anyone lightly.”
Spearheading the Blues attack will be running back Jay Evans The senior is averaging 202 yards per game this season.
“Jay is just a special player. He is a tough, hard runner,” said Asheville School head coach and East Rutherford alum Roger Harris. “It’s not him or the offense that’s the problem. If we don’t come up and hit somebody on defense, it won’t matter what the offense does.”
Aside from Evans, TJCA will also have to contend with an option offense for the second time this season. The Gryphons also saw the option in week two at Rosman.
“It definitely helps,” said Cash. “The only thing is their option is a single back option out of a pistol formation. (A shotgun set with the tailback lined up approximately three yards behind the quarterback.) It a different offense designed to get big plays in the running game. We aren’t going to shut them down all them down all the time, but we need to stop the 60 or 70 yard runs off traps and counters. I’m confident we have a pretty good scheme. We just have to tackle and stay with our assignments.”
On offense, Cash expects the Blues to load the box to stop the running game.
“We are going to see a lot of eight man fronts,” he said. It’s similar to what we do, so we are familiar with that. I think the key is to get our short passing game going and control time of possession. Our focus this week has been on keeping the ball.”
Even with the emphasis on short passes, don’t expect the Gryphons to abandon the ground game entirely.
“Other teams have run the ball on them. I think we can too, even with eight men in the box. We are going to have to mix it up a little. They have struggled on defense more so than on offense. As long as we put a hat on a hat and keep things simple, I think we will have success.”
TJCA is hopeful success will translate into a win and put their season back on course.
“I’d say a win tonight is essential,” said Cash. “The Avery game stung a little bit and the kids need to remember what it feels like to win. Hopefully, we can go out and get the job done.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson.