Jefferson County Football defeats Austin-East, extends historic winning streak

Jefferson County Men’s Soccer has won just four games in the 2021 season. After beating defending Class 1A state champions Austin-East 2-0 at the Bearden Invitational on Saturday, the Patriots have a 7-1-1 record.

It was the Patriots’ second big win of the week — they beat Science Hill 1-0 for the first time in program history on Thursday. They have now won six games in a row, the team’s longest winning streak. Patriots leading scorer Jackson Hughes, signed by Emory and Henry, expected Jefferson County to have a good year, but even he is surprised by the results.

“We’ve been so steady,” Hughes said. “Our game seems a lot faster this year, the passing quality is a lot better, and it seems like we see the pitch a lot better. In fact, we’re learning to understand the game better.”

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Sophomore Bryan Ramos, who scored both goals, was in junior college in 2021 and started for the second time in his career on Saturday. Sam Allum, who was the backup goalkeeper last year, became the first goalie to shut out the Roadrunners (4-2) this season.

Way said the Patriots’ six seniors brought a different leadership style and mindset that he says has contributed to the resurgence.

“Some of them really came out with more muscle on their bodies and you play good teams here in Knoxville where everyone is so fit, so I think that might be one of the differentiating factors,” did he declare. “They just buy into the system and they come to work every day. They figured out we were close last year, but they just found another gear.”

Jefferson County's Jackson Hughes shoots after being called offside during the Austin-East vs Jefferson County Boys football game at the 2022 Bearden Invitational in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday, April 9, 2022.

Way said last year’s team was close to reaching that level of success, but lost six games by just one goal. Young players who stepped up offensively, like Ramos did against the Roadrunners, were key to the new scoring prowess.

“(Ramos) is a more conscious player this year. He’s not hanging his head, he’s doing the little simple things he can change in his game, and I’m proud of him for that growth,” Way said. “We also have guys like Edwin (Banuelos) playing up top, and he just had two goals against Morristown East. Our depth is what will take us far this year.”

Hughes said this season is about leaving his legacy behind and establishing the program as a legitimate contender.

“This match showed us that anything is possible,” Hughes said. “We want to get known because a lot of people don’t know us because we didn’t do well last year. I want to make sure that when I leave people will say, ‘Oh, he’s from County County. Jefferson, ‘not ‘What is Jefferson County?’ “

Contact Emily Adams at [email protected] or on Twitter @eaadams6.

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