There’s always the potential for history to be made at every high school football game in rural West Tennessee, particularly in the final week of the regular season.
But the game this week between Jackson Central-Merry and Dyersburg at Dyersburg has more obvious potential for history than any other game this week.
A Dyersburg win puts the Trojans in the playoffs.
A Cougar victory allows JCM to avoid a winless season.
But more importantly, if possibilities out in the Jackson-Madison County School System’s Vision 2020, this could be the final football game for Jackson Central-Merry since there’s a chance the school building will be repurposed with the end of JCM as an institution of learning being a result.
Braxton Bowers is a senior lineman on the team who knows his final high school game is coming this week no matter what.
“It’s kind of tough to know this is my last game, but I plan to have fun and just try to win,” Bowers said. “That’s what we’ll all try to do.”
Bowers said that’s been the plan for the Cougars all along, but winning against their schedule has been difficult. The nine teams JCM has faced so far has a combined record of 54-28. Bowers said the Cougars could have competed better with some of those teams than what they did.
“We didn’t focus and play as well as we could have and got off track,” Bowers said. “But I think we’re good enough to beat any of the teams we’ve played.
“We’re good enough to win this week too at Dyersburg.”
A win this week would be big for Bowers and the rest of the Cougars.
While the program has fallen on hard times for the following decade, JCM has one of the richer traditions in rural West Tennessee high school football.
The era that could end Friday night includes a history that involves a lot of memorable games and recallable games a lot of older fans and history buffs would recognize.
Technically the program didn’t begin until 1970 when Jackson High and Merry High merged as part of desegregation, but most point to 1912 as the beginning of the program’s history.
Names like Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Tury Oman, Al Wilson and the recently-deceased Daniel Brooks are key components in the legacy of the program.
They helped the Golden Bears/Cougars program win a lot of big games against quality teams from larger cities like Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville.
Bowers said he hopes that while the last few chapters of that history book haven’t seen a lot of success for the program, he hopes the last page of the book will be a fun one to write if JCM can get a win and head coach Orentheus Taylor can sneak in a win over his alma mater.
“It’s something we’d like to do because we just want to win one more game … or one game for us this season,” Bowers said. “But we’d like to get JCM one more win if it is over.
“But the story we get on that changes every week. One week we’re closing. The next we’re not, so hopefully it won’t happen.”
Nothing has been decided yet, but it is a possibility.
“I don’t want it to happen and hope it don’t,” Bowers said. “But once we on the field, all we’ll be thinking about is trying to win a game.
“That’s what we want to do for ourselves.”
Brandon Shields, 425-9751