Cougars chase fourth straight playoff berth
SHENANDOAH JUNCTION – Winning six games would bring Jefferson High School a fourth straight Class AAA football playoff trip. Six games is enough with only 29 schools grouped together in the big-school classification – since 16 teams are taken to the postseason.
The last three regular seasons have seen enough Jefferson wins to locate playoff berths.
With sophomore Corbin Pierson moving to the head of the quarterback class, the Cougars will be trying to get him the on-field education he needs to push them into another playoff situation.
Senior wide receiver/defensive back Jeffrey Gaskins should be a constant problem for pass defenses and running back Jeremy Beach had his moments last season, a season when now-graduated Isaac Myers had more than 3,300 yards of total offense.
There are experienced linemen that could go both ways. Jevon Lang could be the most active and Nick Longerbeam was a starter last season. Jacob Biller would be a third lineman with plenty of on-field experience.
This is one of the seasons where the Cougars have most of their home games bunched at the beginning. Five of the first six games are in Shenandoah Junction.
Millbrook (Virginia) and usually-powerful Sherando (Virginia) lead the schedule that begins with the Pioneers coming to West Virginia on Aug. 25. The Warriors are the opponent on Sept. 1 in Shenandoah Junction.
Only two new teams are on the 10-game schedule and they are Keyser and Loudoun Valley.
Jefferson won’t be at home after Oct. 6, traveling to Loudoun Valley, Martinsburg, South Hagerstown and Washington for its last four games.
An extended move through the playoffs would be a first because the Cougars have not been able to get past the second round in any of the three recent postseason chases.
Martinsburg is the defending big-school state champion and has won the title in five of the last seven seasons.
Finding quality specialists like a reliable punter, efficient placekicker and decent long snapper is always a concern.
Jefferson’s last scrimmage game is this evening at home against Loudoun County, and then comes the count down until the opener at 7 p.m. against Millbrook.