NORTH JACKSON, Ohio (WKBN) – Last season, Jackson-Milton went 6-3, recording the highest winning percentage of any Blue Jays team since 1992. This year, the Blue Jays hope to continue their winning ways but will have to do so with a lot of new faces.
“There’s a lot of underdog experience that’s been going around,” said Jackson-Milton senior Jake Gross. “We lost a lot of good seniors, but it seems to be picking up.”
“It’s honestly going good,” said Jackson-Milton senior Gerald Ihrig . “Definitely a lot of new faces. They got to keep working, get better every day.”
Jackson-Milton returns just two starters on offense and three on defense, including Seniors Eythan Evans and Gerald Ihrig.
“It’s definitely a transition,” said Head Coach Nathan Brode. “We look to the older guys and the guys with experience. It doesn’t have to be the older guys, but the guys with experience to lead the way, talk, communicate, help out the younger guys, as well as be a second coach out there on the field.”
There will also be a new face at QB. After losing Frank Prozy, the Blue Jays currently have five quarterbacks on the roster competing for the starting spot.
“We have one senior, Eythan Evans, might be transitioning from running back to quarterback. We have two juniors in Alex Schiavi and Owen McDevitt. And then then we have two sophomores in Jonah French and Cayden Mitchell. So, I’m just interested,” Brode said. “They’re all getting reps right now and they all have a shot to earn a starting spot. We’ll see how it goes. It’s going good so far. They’re competing. That’s what I want to see.”
The Blue Jays believe leadership from the upperclassman will be key to their success.
“I think leadership is going to have to play a big role this year for everyone to keep a positive attitude and keep everyone focused on the field and not other activities,” Gross said.
“These guys, they’re new,” Brode said. “They’re still learning terminology. They’re still learning their plays, but with the senior leaders we have, the guys with experience, I think that’s going to help bridge the gap between the experienced and inexperienced. So, I think that will help out and I think we’ll be fine come Week 1 or Week 2 when we play our first game.”
Jackson-Milton currently does not have an opponent scheduled for Week 1. They will open their season at Newton Falls on August 27.