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Written by: Nate Grella on Friday, August 27th, 2021
PIAA District 7 – Class AAAA
League: Big 8
(SCR) – denotes scrimmage
Thomas Jefferson may just be in the midst of wone of the greatest western football dynasties of the modern era. Thomas Jefferson dominated the season, and when faced with an adverse loss to McKeesport to end the season, the Jaguars knocked off five straight playoff games, ending with a 21-14 victory in Hershey to clinch the Jaguars second straight state title.
THe Jaguars replaced a legend in 2020 with Jake Pugh and now the Jaguars will look to replace Pugh with JOEY LEKSE. It worked out pretty well for the Jaguars last year. CONNER MURGA is back as lone running back, but the be sure the cupboards are stocked with plenty of young talent. The line is always the best, and there will be plenty of upperclassmen to take over the graduates, most notably NICK BRYAN.
One of the best defenses in the WPIAL returns nearly everyone. The second stringers at LB are likely better than most linebackers in the conference. The only questions will be on the interior line and at Cornerback, where the Jaguars are young. Up the gut, there isn’t a team with a defense as good as Thomas Jefferson.
It’s difficult to predict a team to three-peat as state champions, but when looking at Thomas Jefferson, the idea is certainly not out of the realm of possibility. With MURGA and MCCLAIN FLINN back, and if JOEY LEKSE can be in line as the next great TJ QB, Thomas Jefferson will once again be favorites and one seeds in the WPIAL playoffs. The Jaguars scheduled like defending champs too. A opening scrimmage against Clairton, a road match with the Gateway Gators, who are 5A WPIAL favorites, and a game against South Fayette, will all be appetizers to the trip to the Beach at the end of the month. There shouldn’t be much pressure from the back half of the schedule as the Jaguars await for the time of year they excel the most.
What are your expectations for your team this year?
Compete for the Conference, District and State Championship
When your team is on offense, what are the keys to success?
Control the LOS and be very physical
When your team is on defense, what are the keys to success?
Dominate up front and get pressure on the QB.
Players we should keep an eye on?
TE/DE Jordan Mayer – 6’4″ 240 – Has several D1 offers. OT/DT Nick Bryan committed to Kent State.
Key Starters Lost
WR/LB – Preston Zandier,
QB – Jake Pugh,
WR/DB – Ian Hansen,
TE/DE Jack Konick,
Offensive Starters Returning
OT Nick Bryan – 6’3″ 275,
OT Owen Myer – 6′ 265,
TE – Jordan Mayer – 6’4″ 240,
RB – Conner Murga – 6’1″ 190,
FB – Isaac Eckley – 6′ 195,
Defensive Starters Returning
DE Jordan Mayer – 6’4″ 240,
DE – Conner Murga – 6’1″ 190,
DT Nick Bryan – 6’3″ 275,
LB Isaac Eckley – 6′ 195,
LB Joe Lekse – 5’9″ 180,
Special Team Starters Returning
P/K Andrew Graham – 6′ 185
OL/DL Peyton Krueger – 6’2″ 300,
OL Nick Florian – 6′ 265,
OL Logan TImko – 6’1″ 250,
WR/DB Sean Sullivan – 6′ 175,
RB/LB Elias Lippincott – 6’2″ 215,
QB Brody Evans – 6’3″ 190,
WR Danny Carroll – 6′ 175,
DL Mike Hutchinson – 5″9″ 245,
DB Angelo Volomino – 5’10” 170,
DB Aidan Whalen – 5’11” 175,
WR – Joe Mendyk – 5’9″ 175
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