State Championship Dreams Live In Hearts of Falcon Football Team
Season begins on Sept. 7.
It’s been four years since the Jefferson Falcons high school football team has won a state championship (the team defeated West Essex 21-6 in the Section I Group II championship game in 2008). If this year’s team has its way, the drought will be over at the end of this season.
The team met the media and its fans at the annual football media day festivities on Saturday.
“The summer’s been great so far, but I’m looking forward to getting into the season and leading this team to a state championship,” said junior J.R. Reese, the Falcons’ quarterback who is starting varsity for his third year. “I’ve learning to throw more wisely, and I know we can do this.”
“J.R. is a very strong and intelligent quarterback,” said head coach Joe Mattessich. “I don’t have to tell him where to throw the ball anymore. He decides where he’s going to throw. He’s great at reading the opposition’s defense.”
Reese’s leading receiver will be senior Danny Brown, who Mattessich described as “an extraordinary runner.
“He’s our go-to receiver,” Mattessich said. “He has the knowledge to communicate with J.R.”
Brown relishes those words.
“It’s a big role, but I’m ready to take it on,” he said. “J.R. and I are real close. He knows where I’m going to be before I even get there.”
One of Reese’s protectors will be senior right guard A.J. Willard.
“He’s as strong as an ox,” Mattessich said. “He bench presses 415 pounds. He’ll be a great contributor this year.”
As for defense, the Falcon to watch is senior Lauren “Lolo” Sanchez.
“He’s absolutely unblockable,” Mattessich said of Sanchez. “He causes havoc on the field. He gives us fits. Sometimes I have to tell him in practice to calm down and let us run some plays.”
Like his teammates, Sanchez sees a state championship in the Falcons’ future, and he believes that he will be a major contributor to that success.
“I can’t get touched. I’m fast off the ball,” Sanchez, who has set a 100-tackle goal for himself, said. “I’ve been playing football since I was a little kid. It’s what I live for.
“The team has been working hard together this year, and I know we can go far.”
The Falcons open the season on Sept. 7 at home against Newton at 7 p.m.