by Michelle Brooks | sports editor
With a handful of games on the gridiron before district play, the Jags are prepared to bounce back from their early exit from the playoffs last year.
“We have a lot of games between now and then. We’re just trying to figure out who our players are the first four non-district games then try to figure out to win all six of the district games,” offensive coordinator Jimmy Cueva said.
To ensure that the players have enough time to prepare, all of the coaches plan the week of practice ahead of time.
“We come up with the game plan on Mondays for our kids and then Tuesday, Wednesday we all watch opponent scout video. So, every formation that we’re going to get in, we know what defense they’re gonna be in, what coverage, what front, all that stuff. And we come up with that game plan Sundays as a coaching staff. We come up here and work,” Cueva said.
Watching film and scouting the other team, and sometimes professional teams, is a big preparation for the players.
“We usually watch video on our opponents. We have at least three games worth. We have special plays we put in every week, as many as 10 and as few as 4 or 5. Some are trick plays, some are just a little difference in a play we already run and some are some things we have never even ran before,” Cueva said. “We see it on college football or the NFL. So we kinda take that play and make it into our own.”
Due to the amount of work they put in, the team is positive that they will play more in the postseason and dominate the district this year.
“I am confident that we’re gonna make it farther in the playoffs this year. We have a pretty good team this year,” senior Craig Grove said.
The players on the field have been together majority of their high school careers, adding to the chemistry on the field.
“It’s a lot of seniors on the field right now. So, they been together for a long time so they know each other, know each other’s limitations and everything,” junior Davis Blake said.
Another strategy to help prepare the team for the long season is to take one game at a time.
“We got Callalen, defending state championship finalist team. They went 14-2 and we gave them one of those losses last year,” Cueva said. “So, we start with that game and then we have O’Connor, who’s a top ranked team after that. And then we got Brennan start district. Reagan’s always gonna be tough. Madison is always gonna be tough. And, then, hopefully we do well enough we can make the playoffs.”
Although there are already some players who have been shown interest from colleges, the coaches’ goal is to get deep into the playoffs so that college coaches can notice all of the talent on the team.
“There’s some guys that have offers but the better we do, the better chance we’re gonna get kids to be noticed. That’s how it’s always been. Back in our locker room ,there’s guys that make all area. It’s because we play 12,13,14 games, maybe 15 games. So, if you get to play that far, you usually have some guys that get offers,” Cueva said.