|JPII football making progress this summer|
|Friday, July 20, 2012|
MURFREESBORO — A winning record is not something the Knights of Pope John Paul II have been able to leave the football field with over the last five years. Jerry Joslin was hired this spring to help change that culture.
And JPII is heading in the right direction in terms of getting that done. Full-pad practices are still 10 days away, but the Knights were able to post wins and see progress when they participated in Riverdale’s 7-on-7 passing tournament Tuesday. The team posted a 3-1 record in pool play, then advanced past McGavock in the first round and defeated Giles County in overtime before falling to the host Warriors in another overtime contest.
While it is just a passing league, wins are wins for a program that’s gone 2-9 the last three seasons and has just 10 wins in the last five years.
“You try to draw some positive things from this,” Joslin said. “I think our kids performed well and our coaches did a great job of getting them in position and getting them in places to help them. We’re making progress and it’s going to be a slow process. It’s a step by step.”
Riverdale went on to defeat Mt. Juliet in the championship, 14-7. Those were the only two teams JPII lost to. The Knights started the day 3-0 in pool play with wins over McGavock, Summit and Smyrna before ending pool play with a loss to District 9-AAA’s Mt. Juliet.
“It’s kind of surprising but we have the athletes and we competed today,” Jacob Jarreau, a sophomore, said of getting the wins against 4A teams Giles County and Summit and 6A’s McGavock and Smyrna. “With our new coach and our new offense we’re getting better and I think we’ll be able to contend this year.”
JPII opened the tournament portion with a 19-7 win against McGavock in the first-round game. Brad Jarreau intercepted the Raiders’ first series and the Knights followed with a TD from Jacob Polman to Benton Petty and a one-point conversion to Jacob Catignani. Jacob Jarreau connected with Jalen Tucker for the second score and Polman found Brad Jarreau for the final TD.
A long pass from Polman to Jarreau put the Knights in scoring position late against Giles County, and it was Polman finding Jocquise Upton for a score and Catignani for a conversion that sent the game into overtime. It was Polman to Jarreau again on the first series of OT for both the TD and conversion to take a lead over the Bobcats. Giles County answered with a score but Tucker slapped the ball away in the end zone on the conversion attempt to preserve the 20-19 win.
Against Riverdale, each team scored on its first two possessions. Jacob Jarreau and Upton connected for the first Knights touchdown and Polman found Brad Jarreau for the second. Riverdale did not score on its third series as time expired and sent JPII to a second straight overtime.
It took just two plays for the Warriors to reach the end zone, and JPII had three incompletions and an interception at the 1-yard line to end the game.
"We’ve got a lot of young guys and some people who haven’t played in a couple years.” Brad Jarreau said. “So the biggest thing was experience playing in those overtime games and winning that one and seeing how it feels when you win.”
— Corby A. Yarbrough, Sports Editor
Photo by Corby A. Yarbrough l THE STANDARD