The impression Jarrett Troxler gets from some fellow coaches is that junior varsity football isn’t very significant.
The Lakeside High School varsity head coach could not disagree more.
“We coach just as hard Thursday nights as we do on Friday nights,” Troxler stressed. “The reason behind it is because one day they’re going to be our varsity football players.”
It’s that unwavering support of all of the Panthers players, not just those on varsity, that Troxler and JV head coach Russ Brockman believe led to a special 2011 season.
Lakeside’s junior varsity squad went 5-2 with a convincing 41-14 win at stalwart Burke County.
In addition, the Panthers went undefeated against their Columbia County opponents, routing them all to claim The Columbia County News-Times County Cup.
Evans won the County Cup last season.
“This JV season, it shows us what our future’s going to be on the varsity level,” Brockman said. “That’s the most exciting part about it; to see what these kids’ potential is against some great competition.”
The Panthers fell to Thomson and North Augusta. However, against county foes, the closest game was a 21-0 win over Grovetown.
The victory over Burke County was particularly satisfying, the coaches said, knowing how good the Bears program has been in recent years.
As Lakeside’s varsity program installed a new hurry-up, no-huddle offense this season en route to earning a state playoff berth, JV players got the experience of running it as well.
It was so effective the squad topped 40 points in four of its wins.
Troxler said Lakeside’s varsity and JV squads practice alongside each other. That way, those players will know exactly what to expect when they make the step up.
“They practice with the varsity,” he said. “They do everything a varsity football player does. I think that’s had a lot to do with some of our success.”
The coaching staff knows it will rely on JV players to step up very soon: the varsity squad has 29 seniors graduating in the spring.