CONCORD – Over the last two games, the Cream of Cabarrus No. 6 Jay M. Robinson football team has looked overmatched in lopsided losses to Marvin Ridge (56-0) last week and Monroe (47-14) on Friday.
Despite the tough spell, Bulldogs coach Rich Williams saw things to build on heading into next week’s home game against Waxhaw Cuthbertson.
“Our kids showed some resiliency,” Williams said after Friday night’s game against the Redhawks. “They didn’t get down, they didn’t give up, and they didn’t quit. The effort was there, but we made too many mistakes.”
Monroe has several Division I recruits, but Jay M. Robinson showed flashes of its own potential Friday.
At quarterback, junior Joshua Grant Jr. got the start and continued to progress, particularly in the running phase of the game, where he found seams through the Monroe defense and ripped off several long runs. He set up one score after at 51-yard scamper and then scored himself on a 19-yard keeper.
After the game, Williams said he saw some things he liked from Grant’s second start at quarterback.
“Josh wasn’t making too many mistakes,” Williams said. “He had the one interception on a deep ball, where instead of punting we decided to throw it deep , so he was executing well.”
Williams didn’t comment on the status of senior Kam Robinson, who saw action at quarterback in the first two games but didn’t play against Monroe.
Williams was focused on the positive after the game and found additional bright spots in both the offence and defense.
“I think we played better tonight vs. last week,” Williams said. “We were able to move the ball offensively and had several key stops defensively. But it wasn’t enough tonight, and we have to go back to work Monday.”
For most of the night, the Bulldogs put up a stout run defense led by senior linebacker Nick Coats and junior linebacker Josiah Jackson. Coats had a couple of big stops in the first half, including a sack and a fumble recovery, while Jackson notched several tackles for loss.
One area the Bulldogs coaching staff will need to focus on in the upcoming weeks is mental mistakes and missed opportunities. The Bulldogs lost multiple fumbles at critical points of the game and had a series of penalties. Without those mistakes they would’ve been in contention much deeper into the contest.
“We made too many mistakes offensively in the first half,” Williams said. “We played better offensively in the second half, but on the flip side, we played pretty good defense in the first half. But in the second we gave up too many big plays.”
One significant bright spot was the Bulldogs’ ability to run the ball up the middle. Senior Andre Hamilton, along with backfield mates AJ Howard and Terrance Chapman, showed the ability to gain positive yards between the tackles. And Hamilton showed his ability to both accelerate to daylight and catch passes out of the backfield.
Williams was emphatic that the best of Jay M. Robinson’s season lies ahead.
“Our kids are going to bounce back and keep fighting,” Williams said. “We have a long season in front of us.”