BOULDER — Jefferson High School’s football team has now completed their first full week of practice, and are now just one week away from their first game of the season against the Baker Spartans.
“It's been good. We have, you know, we have quite a few kids with experience this year. Energy's good attitudes. Good. We've had a really good week,” said Clint Layng, the Panthers head coach.
This year’s team has 40 players, only seven being seniors.
“Most of our guys played both ways. I mean, we put our best 11 guys on the field, whether it's offense or defense. And if they play both ways, that's just how it is. And, you know, the kids are used to it. They like playing both ways. I don't think any of them would just want to play one way because they like doing both. So it goes well,” he said.
Last year’s Panthers team made an impressive playoff run all the way to the semis and their plan is to do it again.
“Our expectations are to make a deep run again. And the ultimate goal is to win a state championship. I think everybody that takes the field on Aug. 15. That's your ultimate goal. But we don't really talk about that a lot. We just take it one day at a time, I just tell them ‘get better today’,” Layng said.
His seniors want to work to make another playoff run, especially for Layng.
“The goal is to be the best Jefferson team ever,” John Armstrong, senior receiver said.
Layng’s contract was originally not renewed by the Board of Trustees. But after some backlash from the community, there was a re-vote and he was reinstated as head coach.
And this season, his team is using it as motivation.
“I think we're fueled this year, we really want to come out and play for him. We really want to show everyone that he's a good coach. And we're fired up and really want to get after it,” Zach Zody, a senior receiver, said.
Though the head coach's message to the team is "one day at a time," Zody can’t help but look forward to two games in particular.
“Oh, I'm ready for that Florence game, Florence and Townsend. We've never beat Townsend. And Florence knocked us out last year. Looking forward to those guys,” he said.
The Panthers will take on the Baker Spartans in their first game of the season at 7 p.m. at Lockwood High School.