By Charlie Chitwood
If anyone around town is considering cliff-diving as a hobby after Jefferson’s 35-21 loss to White Oak last week, I do sincerely hope that the search for a cliff to jump off of in East Texas eased your worries a bit. As a bonus, the sun actually did come up Saturday morning and the world seems to be rotating properly toward the next Bulldog gridiron battle Friday night against Redwater.
Undefeated seasons are still harder to find than hen’s teeth. That the Dawgs will go into the playoffs as less than District 8-3A champs only shakes up the prognosticator’s brackets and alters the resume of Jefferson’s playoff opponent in just over a week. A mark of 9-1 or 8-2 at the end of the regular season won’t be anything to cry over.
Jefferson head coach Antwain Jimmerson and his right hand, assistant high school principal and coach Terry Johnson, both know a little about the subject, having been a part of Jerry Bennett’s undefeated state champs back in 1986. Even the ol’ master Bennett admitted that, say what you want, luck sometimes has a hand in the running of the table.
Jack V. Murphy wasn’t a bad ball-coach over in Gladewater but in his 30+ years of guiding the Bears, he never got the brass ring. Jefferson’s storied march through East Texas en route to that state championship in 1986 included some incredible plays late in games that either rallied Jefferson to victory or preserved some slim margin for the win.
And in THOSE, days, of course, men were men and the five classifications each played for their ONE state champ without the muddied playoff waters created by classification divisions and two extra playoff berths per district. Kids these days just don’t know how tough their parents and grandparents had it – why none of us even had smart phones.
But back to the present and the Dawgs, who perhaps strangely found that after their loss to a 5-3 White Oak squad that the various pollsters and rankings don’t see disaster looming as a result. The Dawgs lost (as expected) some points in the AP poll but still are receiving votes and currently sit in a tie for the 15th spot. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football poll dropped Jefferson out of the Top 10 – that’s all the publication lists – but in the Texas High School Coaches Association regional rankings, the Dawgs actually climbed UP to the third spot behind Grandview and Kemp.
Those same two teams plus Jefferson…
Meanwhile, over in Bulldog Gym, Mark Allen and the Lady Bulldogs have revved up their 2017-18 campaign and played their first game on the road Tuesday at Daingerfield. Dave Campbell’s Texas Basketball Magazine projects the Jefferson girls as the second-seed team from District 16-3A behind expected front-runner Elysian Fields. The Lady Bulldogs – 22-10 a year ago – were picked ahead of Harleton and White Oak, respectively, in the pre-season pick of playoff qualifiers.
Jefferson’s boys are hoping to post-pone the start of their basketball slate…
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