Coming off of a final four loss in the 2020 class A state football playoffs, Coach Jerry Herron, Jr.’s Williamsburg Yellow Jackets will start another run at a state football title Friday night.
Call it a homeish opener as the Jackets will face Oneida, Tennessee at Corbin’s Campbell Field in the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic.
Williamsburg has faced Oneida in the past, though it is going back nearly a decade.
In 2011, Oneida in a game that Herron noted was an important lesson for his players that opposing teams were not just going to bow down against Williamsburg.
Herron will have multiple starters returning from the team that went 6-3, falling to Kentucky Country Day in the state semi-finals, including quarterback Sydney Bowen, receiver/returner Jayden Rainwater, running back Marty Gilley linemen Jordan Hurst and Connor Lay, linebackers Chris Howard and Bronson Bates, and defensive back Cade Hatcher.
“I thought our inexperience showed tonight,” Herron said following the loss to Kentucky Country Day.
The Jackets will have that experience to draw upon as they take the field in 2021.
In addition, Herron said the team made a lot of progress in offseason workouts even before they got into the pads.
“I thought we got a lot of work in,” Herron said of spring practice.
However, the loss of 11 seniors from the 2020 teams will leave them a number of holes to fill.
Biggest among those will be at wide receiver where Bowen will be looking for a new favorite target following the graduation of Gavon Thomas.
Williamsburg will be on the road in week two, traveling to Middlesboro before hosting Leslie County in the home opener on Sept. 3.
District play will begin on Oct. 8 when the Jackets travel to Harlan.
The Jackets’ last district loss came in 2015 at Harlan.
Pineville and Lynn Camp will each make the trip to Rose-Stanfill Stadium in 2021.