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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’s senior night turns upside down for the Tigers against Dunbar

The team looks to bounce back on the road at H.D. Woodson.
FRIDAY+NIGHT+LIGHTS+-++The+Tigers+offense+opening+a+drive+against+Dunbar.+%0A
Nathan Watson
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS – The Tigers offense opening a drive against Dunbar.

What started out as a feel good Senior Night for the Jackson-Reed football team turned into a night of troubles quickly. The Tigers suffered their sixth loss of the season to Dunbar Senior High School, 60-0. 

On a Friday evening that started off special, spirits were high after the Tigers honored 20 seniors pregame, ahead of hoping to end a now four game losing streak. Yet, as the Dunbar Crimson Tide rolled through Horace Fleming III Field, JR fell into a familiar rhythm: giving the opposing team opportunities off self-inflicted mistakes. This included three turnovers.

“We have to start stronger,” said junior running back and outside linebacker Aidan Giles. “We can’t have bad plays to start. It messed up momentum [on Friday], which we weren’t able to come back from.” 

In short, the Tiger offense has struggled all season to start strong and put together consistent plays, as one of four punts occurred on their first offensive drive. Dunbar pushed the ball down the field, and scored quickly on an end zone jump ball. A successful two point conversion later, the score was 8-0. 

Dunbar played a certain type of football— take what the opposing team is willing to give you. Once again for the Tigers, that was turnovers, now with 11 interceptions through seven games. The first of two giveaways on Friday by senior quarterback Ward Dieterle came on a pick-six intended for junior wide receiver Zaire Richardson, which increased the Dunbar lead to 14-0.

PREGAME FESTIVITIES – Tigers run onto the field ahead of kickoff. (Nathan Watson)

A weak area for the team throughout the season has been responding to early manageable deficits. Essentially after one mishap, all goes downhill for the team in response. 

“[When making a mistake], we have to get right back up and not look back,” said junior defensive end Justin Humphrey. “We have to work faster, get more reps in and stop playing around in practice, that’s what kills us. We have to focus more, this team could be way better.” 

The Tigers sit 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the DCIAA Stars league. “We have to come together as a team and stop this ‘I am good and you’re not’ mentality,” added senior linebacker and captain Aidan Riley. “It is [simply] killing our team.” 

To open their third offensive series, the Tigers started at Dunbar’s 48 yard-line after a 35-yard kick-return from senior safety Mnason Wilson. Attempting to halt a rolling Crimson Tide momentum, the Tigers lost their grasp. The spark ended in a second interception by Dieterle on a pass once again intended for the junior Richardson. Dunbar capitalized with a touchdown, bringing the score to 22-0. 

Dieterle exited the game with a shoulder injury late in the first quarter, prompting fellow senior quarterback Henry Reid to enter under center. Even with the change, the Tigers offense still couldn’t get going. Dunbar responded with another score, increasing the margin to 30-0 in only the first quarter. Following another three and out, Dunbar scored once again, 38-0 at the nine-minute mark in the second quarter, forcing the game clock to only run for injuries. 

The Tigers couldn’t score the entire game and at halftime the deficit had reached 44 points. Jackson-Reed suffered their worst loss through seven games, notably being shut out for the first time since their season opener against Bishop Ireton, 60-0. 

“[We’re] feeling our way through the game instead of playing it. [Almost] like we’re being careful,” said head coach Minoso Rodgers. “We’ve got to change the mentality, you’ve got to want to hit, tackle, and be comfortable being put in tough positions.” 

“We need to limit the turnovers and get the offense going,” added the senior quarterback Reid. “[If] the offense can get going, [and if we] play complementary football we can win games.” 

The Tigers must do so, as the only option to make the postseason is to win their three remaining games— H.D. Woodson, homecoming against Roosevelt, and their road regular season finale, a rematch against Ballou who JR fell 43-3.

“We’ve got to get the guys to know that there’s still an opportunity to turn this thing around,” said coach Rodgers. “We’ve got to believe we can win the next game, things can happen if you just believe, we’ve got to fight.” Emphasizing the mentality of, “knowing you can win, [and] not telling yourself [beforehand] we can’t win,” he said.  

In preparation ahead of a road trip to H.D. Woodson, the Tigers will focus on retooling their fundamentals this week in practice. “We’ve got to keep practicing.” In addition, [Friday really showed], “we’ve got to get back our physicality,” Rodgers continued. 

The Tigers’ attempt to make an uphill playoff push on the road against the Woodson Warriors (3-3, 2-1 in DCIAA), begins Saturday at noon. “When everything is clicking, this team is playoff worthy,” concluded the senior captain Aidan Riley.

SENIOR NIGHT – The senior Tigers taking a group photo after pregame introductions. (Nathan Watson)
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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
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