Gryphons prepped to play Pine Lake

Nov. 01, 2013 @ 05:52 AM

The Thomas Jefferson Gryphons have struggled during the past two weeks. The cure to those struggles might just come by hosting the winless Pride of Pine Lake Prep tonight. But don’t tell that to Gryphon head coach Jerry Cash.

“This game is going to be a challenge for us,” he said. “They have nothing to lose. Pine Lake Prep probably looks at us as their last best chance to win a football game. They are going to come out and throw the ball around, take some chances, and try to hit some big plays. We are going to have to go out and put the last two weeks behind us and just play football.”

Throwing the ball around may be an understatement.

“They rarely run the ball,” Cash said. “They line up in the shotgun almost all the time and we haven’t seen much of a pass-happy team this year. It will be a challenge for us.”

The Pride uses a platoon at quarterback with freshman classmates Zach Pacious and Nicholas Tennant.

“They have talent all over the field, especially at quarterback and wide receiver,” Cash said. “There’s just not one guy that you can look at and say that’s who we have to stop. But they are just so young. I think they only have one senior on their roster. They kind of remind me of TJCA a few years ago, in that they try to throw the ball around and put their kids in the best possible position and make something happen. They are going to be really good in the future, but they are struggling a little right now.”

The Gryphons secondary could be bolstered by the return of Tyler Mitchell this week to help slow down the Pride’s passing attack, but Cash does not expect him to see much action.

“We are hoping the doctors will release him this week,” Cash said. “The goal is to work him back in slowly so he doesn’t get hurt again. Hopefully he will be back at full strength for the playoffs.”

On offense, the Gryphons will look to take advantage of Pine Lake’s undersized line. The Pride linemen weigh less than 200 pounds on average while TJCA sports eight players over that mark.

“My goal this week is to improve the running game,” Cash said. “We have run the ball well at times, but we can’t seem to put together a 60 or 70-yard drive. We need to work on that. Seth McCraw ran well last week and I think he will see a lot more work now because of injuries. If we can get the running game going, that will open things up downfield.”

Cash also hinted at a possible change under center for the Gryphons.

“I think you could see Nick Mintz get some more work this week, and  Mason (Martin) move to wide receiver. We are just trying to find the right combination to make this offense start clicking because I believe we can score more points than what we are doing.”

No matter who fills certain positions, the main goal is to still win the game.

“We are playing at home for the first time in over a month,” Cash said. “It will nice to be in front of a home crowd again. Hopefully we can come away with a win and get back on the right track.”

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson.