JCMS player Jace Stout (22) runs for a first down against Happy Valley. He ran for 75 yards and a TD in their victory over the Warriors. Photo by Joey Icenhour
By Beth Cox
The hot days of summer provide an intense workout for football players of Johnson County. As the afternoon gives way to evening, the high school’s practice field remains full of players as coaches try to squeeze in as much time as possible preparing for the upcoming season only weeks away.
Johnson County Middle School’s Coach Devin Shaw is right there on that field trying to rebuild a team that missed out on so much due to last year’s pandemic and lost key players that are now in high school. As Shaw begins his sixth year, he has seen some encouraging moments from his players but will quickly point out there is a lot of work that needs to be done.
“We just started practicing with full pads on, so we are now seeing what kind of team we will have,” Shaw said.
The young team is looking better every day, so Shaw is hopeful this football season will produce some good players who can leave the middle school program and be key players to the success of the high school program under Coach Don Kerley. Shaw has his eyes on a few players to help lead this year’s team.
“We will be relying on Juan Mejia at tailback and linebacker, Jack Csillag as quarterback and linebacker along with Ben Reece and Colton Grindstaff,” Shaw said.
Shaw works hard to keep his team motivated even on the days where practices are not going as well as he would like. We say, get better every day, that’s our goal,” he said, feeling that his team has been able to do just that; getting better every day. Shaw also wants to encourage other middle school students who think it is too late to play to reach out to him because several positions still need to be filled. He will be at the practice field almost every night. The regular season begins August 19 at home against Chuckey Doak Middle School.