Consistency is what the Jefferson County football team is looking for when they take the field against Dobyns-Bennett on Friday night.
Last week, after playing a solid first half the week before against Science Hill, the Patriots went back to their old ways as they fell behind Anderson County early and could never recover.
For this week, Jeff County coach Spencer Riley wants to see his team go back to that first half against Science Hill and continue to take the necessary steps forward.
“We just have to go out and be consistent with what we do and understand how physical and how hard and how every play matters and every person does their job,” Riley said. “Let’s see if we can build on that this Friday night and play hard and give yourself and opportunity to be successful. Our biggest problem is not what we do, it’s the consistency that we do it at.”
It will be no easy task as Dobyns-Bennett enters the contest with a 4-0 record and off a bye week after their game against Daniel Boone was cancelled. The Indians have outscored their opponents 140-17. Dobyns=Bennett made the Class 6A quarterfinals last year before losing to Maryville.
Last year, the Indians took down the Patriots 35-0.
“They’re a physical football team,” Riley said. “They’re going to run the football at you, and they do a good job of defending the run. They’re just an overall solid football team. It’s what you expect out of the No. 3 team in the state.”
The Patriots enter the game on a 13-game losing streak, something that the team and coaching staff are very aware of. While it has been tough for Riley and the players, he wants to make sure they take away a football lesson, but also a life lesson.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” Riley said. “We’re trying to build and be better football players but, at the end of the day, we’re trying to teach them that they are going through a rough time as a football player and at some time in your life, you’re going to go through a rough patch as a person, and how you respond to this will build how you respond to things as a man.”
One position that could make or break the Patriots is the quarterback spot. Both Connor Cawood and Stephen McReynolds have struggled with consistency throughout the year. If one or both of them can be effective in the passing game, it could open up more holes for Jeff County running back Ayden Houston.
In order to try and change things up, Riley is putting more decision making on his coaching staff instead of his quarterback.
“We’re going to do what we’ve been doing, but we’re going to simplify it even more,” Riley said. “We as coaches are not going to give them as many luxuries. They are going to be told what to do instead of giving them options on what to do in the passing game and run game. We’ll handle that a little more often now.”
The Patriots will kickoff against D-B on Friday at 7:30 on the road.