It’s been a rough start for Thomas Jefferson High School this season as it’s players boycotted the first two weeks of the season following the dismissal of its head and assistant coaches last May, but the Orange Wave finally got back on the football field last Saturday as they lost 16-12 to Clinton High School in East New York on Saturday.
There was a minor mishap involving a player in the weight room when he was under the guidance of assistant coach Gus Cyrus last May. However, head coach Stephen Edwards was still on his way to the weight room and since Cyrus is not a teacher, he is not allowed to supervise the kids by himself. So Edwards was fired. Cyrus, who is very popular with the players, was not fired, but quit when Frederick Nash took over the team because the two men don’t work well together and without Cyrus involved the players boycotted.
So the Orange Wave struggled to put a team together. Seven players showed up to practice the first week of the season and they eventually had to forfeit week one against Boys and Girls High School because they could not field a team. After one week of that, Nash was let go, athletic director David Rivera took over and brought Cyrus back with him. With Cyrus back, the players quickly returned.
Once the players finally returned there wasn’t enough time to get ready for week two’s game against Curtis so it forfeited that game as well. The Orange Wave finally returned in week though.
“To put all this together and all the things they went through since the summertime, I’m happy for them,” Cyrus told Justin Tasch of the New York Daily News. “We’ll be back.”
Jefferson doesn’t exactly have the easiest schedule the rest of the way, as it has games against undefeated New Utrecht and the always tough Campus Magnet on its schedule. However, they don’t have to face the truly elite Lincoln High School or Erasmus Hall either so a run at the playoffs is not completely out of the picture.
Senior Shem Neil Brown, who ran for 65 yards against Clinton and senior Delano Caton, who had both touchdowns, emerged as promising players. Still, Jefferson is going to be at least slightly short handed the rest of the year as a few of the team’s players signed up for club football with so much uncertainty surrounding the team. When the players tried to comeback, they found out that they couldn’t get their money back from the club teams, and will stick it out with them rather than return to the Orange Wave which makes things a bit tougher.
There are still six games left in the season for Jefferson including four home games in East New York. So they’ll have their chances to prove themselves yet.