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By James McAfee
KNOX CITY—The Knox City Greyhounds were scheduled to get an early start to their 2021 football campaign by going up against the host Jayton Jaybirds last night in the Jayton Gridiron Classic.
“They are always a really well coached team as well as disciplined,” said Knox City Coach Caleb Callaway. “This is going to give us a great look at where we are and what we need to continue to improve on as we move throughout the season.”
Callaway said It was a short prep week. “So we had to get everything installed quickly, but look to see improvement from last week,” he said. “It is nice to be able to breakdown an opponent and focus on what they do. This makes it much easier than a scrimmage where you are pretty much going into it blind. We are excited to get into our preseason schedule where we know every game is a growth opportunity for the district race later this year.”
Callaway said the second scrimmage last week against Hermleigh was another opportunity for the Greyounds to work on some things where they needed to improve from the first scrimmage. “We were able to see some different offensive and defensive fronts,” he said. “We did see some good stuff from our guys and look to build off of it. We know we still have a lot of room to grow and look to keep getting better every day and every week this season.”
Earlier, Callaway felt the Greyounds were able to get quality reps in scrimmages against Baird and Abilene Christian. “Being able to get film and see yourself live is always helpful,” Callaway added. “We are able to sit with the kids and look at what things went right and wrong and work to fix those issues.”
Jayton will have one of its youngest squads in recent years with a lot of juniors in starting roles, but still received a No. 9 state ranking in 1-ADII after posting an 11-2 record that included a surprise upset of Motley County to claim the 7-1ADII title. The Jaybirds scored a 45-0 bi-district win over Chillicothe, but then dropped a 90-48 decision to eventual state champion Balmorhea in the area round.
Knox City will also have one of its youngest squads in recent history where sophomores will play major roles in what could be a rebuilding season after heavy graduation losses, but the players have enjoyed success at the junior varsity and junior high levels and just need to gain experience at the faster pace at the next level.
Following the Knox City-Jayton game, Valley was scheduled to play Ira. The battle between Division I No.2 Borden County and Division I No. 3 May headlines Friday’s schedule at 6 p.m. Borden County fell to state champion Sterling City, 48-40, in the semifinals and May suffered a 68-22 loss to the same team in the state finals. Strawn, No. 3 in DII, goes up against White Deer, No. 17 in DI, at 8 p.m. on Friday while the Saturday games match Aspermont against Follett at 6 p.m. and Gordon vs. O’Donnell at 8 p.m.