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After loss-filled seasons, Cougars chase more victories

By Staff | Aug 23, 2019

Jefferson High School Senior Antione Lewis blocks Washington High School Sophomore Damien Titus, as JHS Senior Sean Corum grabs onto Titus, during a game from the 2018 season. David Pennock

SHEPHERDSTOWN — In the 2017 season, Jefferson couldn’t run the ball; and it couldn’t stop the run. The Cougars also had injuries . . . and all that led to an 0-10 record. In 2018, Jefferson had continued problems running the football and stopping the run. And the record was 2-8.

It’s 2019. Do the Cougars have the effective linemen to be able to successfully run the football? Do the Cougars have the type of personnel to stop the run?

This year’s schedule is much the same as those of the previous two seasons. With Martinsburg, Sherando, Musselman, Millbrook and South Hagerstown as teams used to winning scads of games, the Cougars will need much improved play from their defensive line and their offensive line.

Only Dominion and Heritage, two schools from Virginia, are new to the Jefferson schedule. All four of the teams from Berkeley County remain on the schedule. And all four of them made the 2018 playoff field. Martinsburg was again the Class AAA state champion, but now-injured Spring Mills was throttled, 77-7, by Spring Valley in its first-round game.

Millbrook from Winchester is again the first opponent on the schedule. The Pioneers only prevailed by four points over the 2018 Cougars.

There is some experience in camp to make the push for more than just two wins.

Most of the more capable players are two-way performers, with seniors Francis Diaz and Sean Corum providing some stability. Antoine Lewis will also see time on both offense and defense.

Now a senior, quarterback Corbin Pierson needs ample protection — the same as most throwers — to be at his best. Ahmad Lesesne and lineman Corey Shaffer are also two of Jefferson’s counted-on players here in 2019.

Jefferson’s special teams have not provided many positive answers in the last two seasons, and any return touchdowns could be the turning points in games against Dominion, Heritage, Hedgesville and Millbrook.

Finding a valued punter hasn’t been easy nor has the appearance of a reliable long snapper been seen lately. Points from field goals or extra points from kicking have been rarities.

Improvements in so many categories must be found to outscore more than half the teams on this schedule.