Jefferson County working on mental focus this week

Published 12:01 am Thursday, September 1, 2011

NATCHEZ — A 27-20 loss against Natchez High School has Jefferson County High School head coach James Herrington preaching about mistakes.

With minus 105 yards on 14 penalties and three fumbles, two for losses, Herrington said the mistakes did his team in Friday night.

“You can’t make mistakes,” Herrington said. “I told the guys all week that the team that made the most mistakes would most likely be the team that lost, and we made the most mistakes.

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“We (also) didn’t tackle well, and all those things combined equaled a loss.”

Despite that, Herrington said he’s glad his 3A squad played a 6A team to the wire — although it still goes back to finishing games.

“When you have the opportunity to beat a 6A opponent and you let it get away, that’s not a good thing,” Herrington said.

“You have to have that killer instinct when the game is up for grabs. We left the game out there for grabs a little too long, and we let them put us away.”

Herrington said he hasn’t changed anything up in practice. He’s still continuing to stress the mental aspect of football.

“We’re trying to get them to understand that 85 percent of the game is mental,” Herrington said. “Being in the right place at the right time, carrying out assignemtns and keeping your mental focus in tight stretches of the ball game, that’s all important.”

And those tight stretches are the times you can least afford to miss a beat mentally, Herrington said.

“You want to stay focused in key moments of the ball game, and throughout,” Herrington said. “Being aware of where you are and where the game is, is important. We’re just working with our guys on maintaining focus and not having mental lapses.”

The Tigers will host Port Gibson Friday for another rivalry game.

“They’re only about 30 minutes away, if that,” Herrington said. “In the past 10 years, we’ve won just about every game except one, and that was two years ago.”

Two years ago on Jefferson County’s home field, to be exact. And the Tigers paid back the favor by beating Port Gibson on the road 34-22 last year.

“We’re quite sure Port Gibson has a bitter taste in their mouths,” Herrington said. “Our guys have to know that they have to be prepared.

“Port Gibson is a 4A team, and they’ll have plenty of talent and speed. We’ll have to match their intensity.”

Jefferson County (1-1) will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday.