Game Preview: Jackson Looking For 3-0 Start, Host West Jefferson on Saturday

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The bitter taste of last years’ lost to West Jefferson is still very much on the minds of the Jackson Ironmen. Jackson coach Andy Hall and the Ironmen distinctly remember last year’s meeting where the Roughriders cruised their way to a 42-7 victory.

“We went up there last year and didn’t play well, at all,” Hall said. “They looked more physical than us, they outcoached us, and they outplayed us. They just dominated the ball game from start to finish.”

However, this year’s Jackson (2-0) squad is a much more united team that is full of experience. Hall expressed just how important he feels that experience is.

“I think the biggest difference this year is just going to be a year’s experience,” Hall said. “We have a lot of kids coming back who have been through those battles and the offseason so I think the experience factor will play more into it.”

West Jefferson (1-1) enters Friday’s game coming off of a loss last week to Jonathan Alder, but is a different style of team than what the Ironmen have seen so far this season. Both of Jackson’s first two opponents, Waverly and Wellston, ran smash-mouth style offenses, whereas West Jefferson runs a no-huddle spread formation.

The Roughriders head coach, Shawn Buescher, is very familiar with the Ironmen, as he is a former Jackson assistant coach, and will be seeking his 100th career-win on Friday. Offensively, West Jefferson is led by quarterback Mitch Denes, who converted from wide receiver to quarterback during the offseason, after the Roughriders lost their quarterback from last season to graduation.

For Hall and the Ironmen, the key to success is stopping the run and swarming the ball in the secondary. The Roughriders run a spread offense but Denes is not afraid to tuck it and run if he needs to.

“Our number one goal is to stop the run,” Hall said. “[West Jefferson] runs a spread offense and they like to throw the ball around quite a bit. But, they still predicate their success on running the football.

“Their quarterback (Denes) is their best weapon. Our secondary has not been tested in the first two weeks and they’re going to see the ball up in the air a lot this week. So, our secondary is going to have to come play and be able to get the ball.” 

The Ironmen will look to contain and shut down the explosive Roughrider offense Friday night at Alumni Stadium in Jackson. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

'Gridiron Glory' airs every Friday night at 11:30 p.m. on WOUB. You can follow the show on Twitter @gridironglory, like the Gridiron Glory page on Facebook, and follow along on Instagram @woubsports. You can also join the conversation throughout the season by using the hashtag #GridGlory!