A homecoming test
When Thomas Jefferson head coach Jerry Cash looks at the Rabun Gap (GA) Eagles, he sees a mirror image of the Gryphons and that is a scary sight.
“They run the same stuff that we do,” Cash said. “They are very athletic and they like to spread their athletes out in space and let them make a play. They have won three in a row, so they have got their team together. They will be a challenge and a very stout test. “
Since TJCA also runs the spread offense, one might think that the Gryphon defense would have the advantage of familiarity, but Cash does not see it that way.
“You can be familiar with what a team tries to do all you want, but if you can’t stop them it doesn’t matter. They are a very balanced team. If you load the box, they can throw the ball all over the place. If you play coverage, they can run the ball. It’s easier when you can play an option team because they are already one dimensional. When a team is balanced, it’s a guessing game and that’s scary.”
Cash admits that the Gryphons will have to visit the end zone frequently in order to come away with a win.
“The spread is designed to let athletes make plays and they have got a quarterback, running back, and tight end that can do that. Our defense is going to have to tackle in space and our offense is going to have to put points on the board. We’ll see how it goes.”
In order to put those points on the board, fans can expect the unexpected from the Gryphon offense.
“I’d love to be able to tell you that we will be able to find success running outside or up the middle, or with screens, but I just don’t know,” said Cash. “It will be what the game dictates. They are big up front so we have to be able to get protection if we are going to throw the ball. I think the biggest key is being unpredictable. We have to pass when they think we are going to run and run when they are expecting a pass. Like I said before, it’s a guessing game.”
With both teams evenly matched, the difference could come in the kicking game, where the Gryphons have a not so secret weapon in Efrim Borders.
“Anytime a team kicks the ball to Efrim, they are playing Russian Roulette,” said Cash. “Rabun Gap has a dangerous returner too, but we also have Tyler Mitchell. He will be a big advantage for us and we have to get him the ball. He is just as explosive as Efrim.”
Another advantage for the Gryphons is the expected large turnout for homecoming.
“I hope it gives us a boost,” said Cash. “Last year we lost on homecoming and it wasn’t much fun. I’ve never been one of these coaches that schedules an easy game for homecoming and Rabun Gap is a tough challenge. We are looking forward to it. It should be a really good ballgame.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.