TECUMSEH – Like several teams across southeast Nebraska, the Johnson County Central football team is dealing with low numbers. The Thunderbirds had 20 players on the roster when they opened fall camp on Monday.
Second-year head coach Gabe Meints says it’s not about the number of players you have, but what you do with it.
“We just want to compete with everybody. It doesn’t matter how many kids we have, but we just want to go out there and compete. I think the kids did a decent job of preparing themselves and we’ll see what we have.”
The roster maybe smaller and JCC will have to replace three offensive lineman, but they return plenty of experience, including all-district running back Josh Bailey. The 5’11”, 215-pound senior rushed for 1,106 yards and 14 touchdowns a year ago.
Bailey will be joined in the backfield by returning junior quarterback Eli Waring and he’ll have Simon Rother helping pave the way along the offensive line. Rother, a 5’10”, 210-pound senior, is also a returning all-district defensive lineman who finished with 80 tackles, 5 sacks and and 3 fumble recoveries in 2017.
With seven starters back on both sides of the ball, the goal for the team is to become the first Johnson County Central team to win five games in a season, and according to Meints, it’s about more than just showing up.
“Working hard everyday in the limited amount of time that we have. Be willing to try new things, new positions. Be coachable. Basically, all those things that sound good to say, it’s a matter of whether or not they want to take that to heart and actually do it.”
The Thunderbirds went 0-9 in Meints’ first season in 2016. They had one of their most successful seasons in recent memory with a 4-5 record last fall.
They will compete in Class C2-1 and kickoff the season at North Bend Central on Aug. 24.
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