The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

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The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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JR Football: Tigers Look to Grow From Season Opening Loss

RAINY EVENING: The rain starts to fall as the Tigers falter against the Bishop Ireton Cardinals.
(Jaden Jones)

In their season opener at home against Bishop Ireton High School on Friday night, nothing went right for the Jackson-Reed football team. Rain poured periodically throughout the game, and so did Bishop Ireton, which stunned the Tigers, 38-0.

On the very first play of the game, Bishop Ireton scored on a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. That seemed to zap the energy out of the Tigers, and the full stands at Horace Fleming III Field. Down 7-0, the Tigers’ first series went four and out—on two stuffed run plays, a false start and a near-interception on a pass from senior quarterback Ward Dieterle to junior wide receiver Zaire Richardson.  

The Cardinals marched down the field and scored again, this time on a quarterback draw by senior Omar Diallo, for a 14-0 lead. Backed up near their own end zone, the Tigers were forced to punt again, and Ireton capitalized with a 23-yard touchdown pass: 20-0. 

After another Jackson-Reed punt, Diallo scrambled out of the pocket and sprinted 75 yards untouched for Ireton’s fourth touchdown and a 27-0 halftime lead. 

Deeming this season as a “Statement Year,” Jackson-Reed was hoping for a different result in their first game. The Tigers continue a trend of losing their season opener since 2018. Despite the disappointment, players said after the game that they were determined to improve. 

“The scoreboard told the story, but we could grow from this,” said senior middle linebacker, and long-snapper Aidan Riley, one of the team’s captains. “We have to go back to the basics, and remember we’ve got a job to do. [On Friday] we didn’t do our part.”

Dieterle added, “We made a lot of mistakes that we can build off of. Hopefully by next week our mistakes will be limited.” 

The Jackson-Reed offense was an engine that wouldn’t start. The Tigers had just five first downs and were one for eight on third-down conversions. They completed only five of 12 passes for a total of 17 yards. On the ground, the team totaled just 53 yards on 16 carries, which was the lone positive.

TIGERS OFFENSE: #8 Quarterback Ward Dieterle, #28 “A.J. Ward Jr; and #4 running back Hassan Parrish. (Jaden Jones)

Defensively, Jackson-Reed allowed only 62 yards through the air. The issue for the Tigers on defense was giving up a total of 253 yards on the ground, 150 of them from quarterback-designed plays—three Ireton touchdowns from Diallo were on the ground. 

The Tigers punted a total of six times. And when they did, the Cardinals kept pouring into their lead. Diallo’s third rushing touchdown increased Bishop Ireton’s lead to 35-0 in the third quarter. After that, the referees instituted a “running clock,” only stopping play for injuries.

The only break all night for the Tigers was a storm that rolled through the area towards the end of the third quarter, delaying the game for 45 minutes because of lightning.

The Tigers exited their quiet locker room after the delay with the goal of achieving something positive on opening night. In the fourth quarter, senior Henry Reid took over at quarterback for Dieterle, but the team still couldn’t sniff a score. The Cardinals added a field goal for the final 38-0 margin.

Tigers head coach Minoso Rodgers said the team needed to watch film of the loss to see where they fell short. 

“They have to see that they missed an opportunity to take that next step,” he said. “Physically we were fine—they didn’t push us around. We were just not in the right places [on the field]. We have to make adjustments.”

“The few drives where we had something positive going, all ended with negatives. Film is the best teacher. It’s going to help us turn the corner,” he said. 

Tigers senior linebacker Messiah Peddie added, “We came into this game thinking it was going to be a cakewalk, thinking we were going to win [because of Ireton’s 2022 record of 1-9], which was just like ours last year. We simply gave up. The momentum shifted.” 

Peddie said the team was optimistic it will reach the goal of winning sooner, rather than later this season. “We will be back,” he said. “We need everyone to play well so we can win.”

The Tigers resume action on the road on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against Yorktown High School (1-0) of Arlington, Va. The team will look to avoid consecutive losses to start a season—something it hasn’t done since it beat Yorktown back in 2018.

The Tigers know it’s a long season, and can keep in mind that they have yet to play DCIAA league competition. In order to gain momentum before they return home in two weeks, they’ll look to bounce back on Thursday.  

“We’re going to win. No days off—we’re going harder,” Peddie said. “With school starting on Monday, we’ll be right back at it that afternoon, no breaks.”

FRIDAY OPENING NIGHT LIGHTS: The Tigers on defense.
(Jaden Jones)
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About the Contributors
Justin Glenn
Justin Glenn, Sports Editor
Justin is a sports fanatic.. you’ll most likely see him with a baseball cap of some sort throughout the hallways. If he isn’t writing about high school sports, he’s likely watching a D.C. sports team, NASCAR or some other professional league in his free time. Outside of sports, he enjoys the outdoors and watching Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, besides that, he’s an average out-going person.
  • 2023-24: Assistant Sports Editor
Jaden Jones, Photo Editor
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