Jefferson hopes to turn around season, faces 8th-ranked Waterloo West

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CEDAR RAPIDS — It has been as normal a week as it could be for Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s football team.

There hasn’t been school because of the Flood of 2016. The families of some players have been affected by Cedar River waters that reached heights surpassed only in 2008.

“We’ve got a few kids who have missed some practice because of the flood,” Jefferson Coach Brian Webb said. “But we’ve had pretty good attendance. It has kind of been the same routine as always for us.”

Webb hopes that’s with one exception. Jefferson (0-5) hosts Waterloo West at Kingston Stadium about 7:30 Thursday night, in dire need of a victory.

It has been a disappointing season thus far for the J-Hawks, who hoped to springboard off last season’s playoff appearance and first-round win. That hasn’t happened.

“Our thing has been beating ourselves,” Webb said. “We haven’t put ourselves in position to win. Too many mistakes, special teams issues, a lack of tackling. We have worked a lot on fundamentals the last two weeks. Trying to get back to the basics.”

Webb pointed out how his team has been in every game at halftime, but just hasn’t been able to close. Part of that is due to injuries that have sapped Jefferson’s depth.

For instance, the J-Hawks played Class 4A third-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington to a 14-0 game at the half last week, but a plethora of second-half miscues allowed the Warriors to pull away for a 44-0 victory.

“It’s been a frustrating year,” Webb said. “I feel like we’re the best 0-5 team in the state. We’re not a bad football team. I think we can beat this team tomorrow night. I really do. We have to be able to put four quarters together.”

West has perhaps been 4A’s biggest surprise, rolling into Kingston with a 5-0 record and No. 8 ranking. No, the Wahawks haven’t played the most challenging schedule, but they’ve aced that schedule thus far.

Quarterback Devon Moore — son of head coach Lonnie Moore — has rebounded from a broken leg that prematurely ended his 2015 season, throwing for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns through five games. The Iowa State recruit has thrown just two interceptions.

Senior receivers Tayshaun Cooper and Carlton Todd have combined for 11 touchdowns and are averaging 18.8 and 22.2 yards per catch, respectively.

“They have some very good athletes on offense,” Webb said. “It starts with the coach’s son. He’s a Division I athlete, a pretty special player. You don’t get many D-I quarterbacks in this state. We’ve got to be able to stop him. That’s what every team’s focus has been, on him.”

Jefferson has struggled getting a running game going, with quarterback Dylan Hart its leading rusher with just 233 yards. The J-Hawks have scored 14 or fewer points in four of their five games.

This is the second district game for each team.

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