Millbrook, Sherando stand in way of a positive start for Jefferson High School
SHEPHERDSTOWN — The same schedule faces Jefferson and its football fortunes.
Virginia powers Millbrook and Sherando come first. Later, there’s Musselman and defending state champion Martinsburg.
All 10 of Jefferson’s opponents beat the Cougars last year.
Five of the first six games are on the road.
Four of the Cougars’ five opponents from either Berkeley or Jefferson County reached the playoffs last season, with the Bulldogs winning another Class AAA state title with a 14-0 overall record, including a win in the state championship game against Spring Valley.
The first game comes on the road against Millbrook on Aug. 24. The Pioneers prevailed, 52-13, over Jefferson a year ago. Millbrook finished with a 9-2 overall record.
Then comes Sherando, which completed the 2017 schedule, with an 11-3 overall record that included a 48-12 win over Jefferson.
Musselman comes to Shenandoah Junction for the season’s third game. Following the Applemen are games at Hedgesville, at Keyser, an open date and at Spring Mills, and then completing the season with four straight home games against Loudoun Valley, Martinsburg, South Hagerstown and Washington.
With official practice beginning on July 30, the Cougars will begin their 2018 season in three weeks in Frederick County, Virginia.
Coach Craig Hunter will have junior Corbin Pierson. Pierson was injured near the midway point of the 2017 season, and Hunter was forced to move Scooter Gaskins to quarterback from his natural wide receiver position. Gaskins was a senior in 2017.
A pair of linemen — Jevon Lang and Nick Longerbeam — have been key performers in the Jefferson interior for two seasons already. Both will occupy vital defensive spots again this year.
One of the running backs will probably be Jacob Gamble, who saw considerable playing time last season.
Obviously, coming off a 0-10 season, the Cougars need solutions just about everywhere a magnifying glass would be placed.
Few, if any, injuries can befall the more capable players or any of the two-way starters.
Any experienced or quality depth would be welcomed.
Millbrook and Sherando are waiting at home, and both have leadership and at least 14 returning starters readying for the Cougars.