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Revamped schedule awaits football Cougars

By Bob Madison - For the Chronicle | Aug 31, 2020

The Cougars have reported a 10-game card, solely featuring schools in West Virginia, including Martinsburg High School, which Jefferson High School can be seen playing against in this 2019 file photo. David Pennock

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The state of Virginia has cancelled the 2020 high school football season. Washington County in Maryland has done the same.

With the likes of Millbrook, Sherando, Dominion, Heritage and South Hagerstown all removed from Jefferson High School’s original schedule, the football Cougars have done some scrambling to find replacement games.

With the problem-ravaged season now just a week away on Sept. 4, the Cougars have finally reported a 10-game card that features an entire lineup of West Virginia schools.

And four of the five replacement schools have featured prominent teams in recent years.

George Washington of Charleston went 7-3 last year and then even won a playoff game before being bounced in the Class AAA quarterfinals.

University from Morgantown has sent out creditable teams for many years and is another Class AAA school.

There are two Class AA teams from nearby Mineral County on the revised schedule. Keyser High didn’t lose its second game of the 2019 season until the playoffs, and Frankfort has been a winning program for the better part of two decades. The only win-troubled program added to this year’s hurriedly constructed schedule is Class AAA Riverside, where wins have become hard to find.

The five Jefferson/Berkeley County Class AAA schools are the more familiar faces on this year’s schedule.

Martinsburg and its 56-game win streak, experienced Musselman and its long list of playoff appearances, Spring Mills with a first-year coach wanting to replicate or better last season’s overall 7-5 record, Hedgesville with another first-year head coach and county rival Washington are the area teams remaining from years past.

The Cougars rose to 3-7 overall in 2019, beating county rival Washington with a score on the game’s last play.

George Washington takes to the highway to face the Cougars on Sept. 4 in Shenandoah Junction. And then Musselman visits Jefferson the next Friday after opening against Martinsburg on the road.

Never-seen circumstances have held a certain control over any pre-season practices. Every team has seen the need to be vigilant against the coronavirus. The regular season was supposed to begin in late August but was long ago shoved back to September by WVSSAC director Bernie Doland in connection with edicts coming from Gov. Jim Justice’s office.

Jefferson will have Nathan Muhle, Ahmad Lesesne, Brady Chrisman, Jon Gidney and first-year starter Jaden Butts (quarterback) to show its formidable schedule.

It will be an array of all-West Virginia teams dotting the Cougar schedule here in 2020.

Unusual preparations have made and are continuing to be made.

Actual football on the playing field is near. Hopefully, it can stay even if the virus continues to nip at its heels.