Jefferson isn’t shaken by small roster in 2021

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 7:00 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - They say numbers don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole story for the Jefferson J-Hawks.

Jefferson climbed over two big hurdles in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Derecho. In 2021 their biggest hurdle is their small roster.

The J-Hawks have never blown people away with a big roster, but this year they’re really testing their limits, with just 20 active players on the varsity roster. But they’re not simply ignoring their small roster size, they’re embracing it.

“Any disadvantage can be an advantage,” said senior offensive lineman Zane Wilson. “I mean, less people to coach, we should have everyone knowing what they’re doing.”

Wilson said the team has always used multiple two-way players. But after an 0-8 season and multiple players transferring out of the program, the J-Hawks will have to rely on versatility even more.

This shortage of players is in line with national and statewide trends. Overall participation in high school football has been on the decline in both Iowa and the U.S. as a whole in the past decade, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Despite a relative lack of success the past few years, head coach Chris Buesing said he’s excited to get back on the field and represent Jefferson.

“We have a fantastic high school we have a fantastic group of kids that are dedicated and are working hard for this season., he said. “Who wouldn’t want to be a part of Jefferson high school?”

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