Jefferson County will try and avoid doing something that hasn’t been done in school history on Friday night when they take on Farragut for the final game of the season.
The Patriots enter the contest with a 0-9 record and on a 16-game losing streak. Jeff County has never gone a full season without winning a game.
“I’ve never been through a streak like this,” Jeff County coach Spencer Riley said. “It’s definitely challenging. You just have to learn from your adversity and adapt and overcome. You have to learn to compete and fight and that every snap matters. Everything that you do when you step on the football field Friday night matters. No matter what you do.”
Jeff County is coming off a bye week after losing a heartbreaker to Hardin Valley, 14-13. The Patriots had a chance when Jace Dobbins blocked a punt and returned it to the house for what appeared to be the game-tying touchdown. However, on the extra point, the snap was off, and the conversion failed.
Riley said that the team had a good week of practice during the bye and that it was very important for some of the younger kids who will need to make an impact next season.
“It was very important to get them this week,” Riley said. “We got a lot of skill work in. We had a combined JV and freshman game against Morristown East, and we came out and played very well. They played well and had a good week of practice.”
It will also be the final game for 12 seniors on the Jefferson County football team. For the seniors, it is important to Riley that he sends them out on the right note after a frustrating season.
“They’re hard working kids,” Riley said. “They’re working their butts off. They’ve been good kids. They’re fun to be around. I hate to see them go and hate to see the way the season has gone for them. At the end of the day, I hope we have made them better men.”
It will be no easy task for Jefferson County as they take on Farragut, who is locked into the third seed in the region for the playoffs.
The Admirals are coming off a 42-7 win over Hardin Valley last week. Their only losses have come to Know West, Maryville and Dobyns-Bennett, two one-loss teams and an undefeated team in Maryville.
Farragut is led by Dawson Moore at quarterback who has thrown for 1736 yards and 25 touchdowns. Moore has a solid receiver in Matt White who has 776 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. On defense, Eli Purcell has 82 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and two sacks.
“They’re a good ball club, but they’re not unbeatable by no means,” Riley said. “We are going to go out and execute well and perform better than we have all year. If we do that, we’ll have an opportunity to win a football game.”
The Patriots will need a big game from Ayden Houston if they want to pull off the upset. Houston became the 25th player in Jeff County history to eclipse the 1000-yard rushing mark. Houston has been a bright spot on an offense that has struggled to move the ball at times during the season.
“He’s been a work horse,” Riley said. “He’s been averaging probably 25 touches a game. He has had some really, really good games. We’ve helped him at times on the offensive line. I am just glad to see him out here competing, he’s working hard. He’s doing what he does.”
Kickoff for Friday night is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.