For 24 consecutive games, the Jordan football team has left the field after a loss. Of those 24 losses, eight have been shutouts and four have come by more than 50 points.
A trend like that makes it difficult for players and coaches to see the silver lining, but the silver lining does exist.
Despite losing every game last season, the Red Jackets made strides in the right direction, particularly on offense. They went from being shut out six times and scoring a total of only 47 points in 2011 to averaging 14.4 points per game in 2012, never getting shut out and failing to score 10 points on only two occasions.
It may sound like a reach to find improvements, but the direction in which the team is headed is undeniable.
Coach Jim Brown, in his second year at the helm, said that he has continued to see strides over the offseason and in the early part of practice this month. He especially likes the play of quarterback Will Harris, in his second season as the team’s starter.
“I feel like we are in a better place,” Brown said. “We practice like we are. We look like we are. There’s better cohesiveness and they do things together as a team. I hope it translates into more wins.”
More wins certainly makes things more fun, but progress alone is a good sign for the Red Jackets.
Harris is the focal point of the offense, Brown said. The coached praised his athleticism and said the improvements he’s made at the position have been “tremendous”.
“With all he’s done, all the work he’s put in, I feel like he’s going to step it up,” Brown said.
Juniors Kyren Harper and Tim Griggs will carry the ball at the running back position. Brown said Harper has looked good so far.
“He’s looked sharp,” he said. “He’s not real big, but he’s got good speed. He runs well, he runs low. I like what I see.”
At wide receiver will be Javante West, Abrian Hollis and D’Arius Williams. Of West, Brown said he had good hands and ran precise routes, and Hollis is a big target at six feet tall.
“He can go up and get the ball,” Brown said.
On the offensive line, which has vastly improved according to the coach, will be tackles Damon Lewis and Alfred Hill, guards Jamal Lewis and Ray Browder, and center Kastadell Ford. Malik Owens will play tight end.
Like most Class AA programs, Jordan will have a large number of players playing on both sides of the ball. Jamal Lewis and Damon Lewis will be joined on the defensive line by Brower and Bryan Johnson.
Andre Harper, LaDarius Humphries, Owens and Harper will play linebacker, and Williams, Griggs, West and Harris will round out the secondary.
Like the line on offense, Brown said the defensive front is much improved this season, thanks in part to the fact that all four played the position last year.
“If you can rely on your team to win up front, you’ll be decent,” Brown said. “Our front is looking pretty good.”
The linebackers are relatively green, but Brown still said he liked their speed.
“They run to the ball well,” he said. “They aren’t as big, but I think they’re a little faster.”
Like the defensive line, the secondary is much improved, according to the coach. All four players returned from 2012, and Brown said he sees a lot of improvement.
Brown said that when he turns on the film of last season, it’s hard for him to believe it is the same group of kids.
“When you go 0-10 and look back on it, you say, ‘Who is that?’” he said. “There’s just a big difference between what they looked like then and what they look like now.”
He hopes that means more wins, but he knows that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it’s hard to gain traction in a region against other teams that are also improving.
Wins or not, though, he knows how far his team has come.
“The kids are learning the game better,” he said. “Who knows how that will translate. You can’t always tell, but they’re gaining some confidence and starting to feel like they can compete.”
David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.