The Cumberland County Jets will hit the road this week to take on the Livingston Academy Wildcats in a showdown of two teams coming off opposite results.
The Jets lost to White County in a game where they held a 14-10 lead at halftime, but struggled to contain the Warriors’ rushing attack in the second half. When all was said and done, Cumberland County gave up 276 rushing yards and fell by a final score of 31-20.
Although they didn’t come out with a win, Head Coach Eric Belew said he was happy with his team’s overall effort.
“The first thing we noticed is that the kids played hard,” Belew said. “That’s what we lacked in our first game of the year; we didn’t match intensity … that was really big for us, to get a game like that under our belt.”
Jets’ quarterback Trevor Parsons led the offensive attack, as he rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries.
“When you have a guy like Trevor where he’s always reading somebody, 80 percent of the plays, he has the opportunity to get the ball,” Belew said. “It stretches defenses, but we’ve got to find a way to protect him … some other guys are going to have to step up.”
On the other hand, Livingston Academy won a thrilling game over Cookeville by a final score of 28-21. After stopping the Cavaliers on the goal-line, the Wildcats marched down the field and won on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Will McDonald to Wesley Smith.
Head Coach Bruce Lamb said that while this win meant a lot, it’s just like every other win for his squad with regards to meaning.
“Every win’s big, but when you play against a team like Cookeville that’s 20 miles down the road, it’s a big win for our bunch,” Lamb said. “For this senior bunch that’s been leading us and working their butts off … I knew we were going to score. I just have this much confidence in these kids and they have that much confidence in each other.”
This upcoming match-up represents a trap game for Livingston, according to Belew. The man in charge sees through the 0-2 record Cumberland currently holds, and Lamb says his team will have to be focused on the Jets in order to win.
“It is a trap game, because they’re 0-2 and we’re 2-0 … it’s one of those things where you can overlook them,” Lamb said. “Cumberland County football is not that bad, we’ve watched them on film … (Belew’s) got them headed the right way. We’re going to have to come out and play good, or it could be an ugly sight for us.”
With Parsons in the backfield, Lamb said his team will have to key in more on the run than they did against Cookeville. The Cavs gashed the Wildcat defense throughout the night, as CHS quarterback Stockton Owen led the way with 137 rushing yards. They face Parsons this week, and then will play Donoven McCallister and Upperman the week after.
“We were lucky with (Owen) from Cookeville, he’s an exceptional athlete and so is Parsons,” Lamb said. “We’re looking at the same thing this week (with Parsons), and then we go back to Upperman with McCallister. We’re going back-to-back-to-back with great athletes at quarterback.”
For Cumberland County to win this game, Belew said that his team needs to focus more on what they are doing, as opposed to what another team is doing.
“We’re resorting back to what we always think about: we don’t want the preparation to be their quarterback or passing attack, we want it to be about us,” Belew said. “We want to look back at the game and say we won or lost (because of us) … you can’t control how good or bad their quarterback is going to play, he’s going to do what he’s going to do. We want it to be our performance for the reason why there was a win or a loss.”
The two teams will battle in Livingston, Tennessee, on Friday at 7 P.M.