Football season isn’t over just yet at Jefferson Township High School.
Two games have been added to the Falcons’ 2020 ledger, each of which will be played over the next two weeks. The Falcons will first hit the road to battle Lakeland Regional on November 13 before capping things off against Montville a week later. Kickoff for the first game is scheduled for 6 p.m. while the finale on the JTHS campus returns to a 7 p.m. opening.
“We are extremely excited to get weeks seven and eight on the schedule,” JTHS athletic director Bill Koch told TJC. “It is great to have local, competitive competition and to get our Lakeland game back that we missed earlier this year. I am excited for our athletes to be able to compete and the (Super Football Conference) has done an amazing job setting these games up.
“There was a lot of skepticism in regards to this fall season, but I am proud of all of our athletes and our staff for facing this adversity head-on and doing what we need to do to stay safe and keep us on the field.”
The tilt against Lakeland was previously scheduled for October 16 but was pushed back due to the Lancers’ issues with the ongoing health crisis. Jefferson’s next game in Vernon was pushed back a day to give the Falcons a day to prepare.
Head coach Jerry Venturino was proud of the way his players handled themselves after the rescheduling, as well as their overall attitude and adaptation to the uncertain times.
“It’s really all about these kids and trying to play as many games as possible, specifically for these seniors,” Venturino said. “The fact that we have an opportunity to play two more games is fantastic.”
Jefferson has earned a 3-2 record thus far in 2020, including a 2-0 mark at home. The Falcons are coming off a tough defeat at Mount Olive last week but are undefeated in a pair of home contests, both of which have ended in shutouts. With doubt and questions lingering over the mere staging of games in 2020, the team has been proud to represent the community throughout the ongoing health crisis
“I’m so happy,” receiver Caleb Rippey said of the extra contests. “With the way this season’s been going, the whole COVID thing, every day of practice is a blessing. Any day you can go out in a helmet and shoulder pads is great. I’m really glad that we got two more games left. We just got to keep playing our hardest and not give up.”
JTHS is seeking its first consecutive winning seasons since 2012-13.
Friday will mark the Falcons’ first meeting with the Lancers since 2014. The latter matchup against Montville is a reunion of sorts for former Jefferson athletics legends.
“Our week eight match-up with Montville has been one that has been on our schedule for a number of years now and has built itself into a little bit of a rivalry,” Koch noted. “The Montville AD, Wayne Guarino, is a JTHS alumnus from 2003. He was a standout football and baseball player while here. JTHS (offensive coordinator Keith) Runne is a JTHS alumnus as well and is a teacher at MTHS, and I began my administrative career as the Montville AD from January 2017 to January 2018 before starting the same role back in JT.”
Jefferson and Montville have met in each of the last four seasons, splitting the quartet of matchups.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags