1st and 10 Camp Tour: James River motivated by 2021 playoff loss

‘We want to pick up where we left off.’

BUCHANAN, Va. – “Unfinished business.”

Those were the two words that head coach Tim Jennings said were prevalent from the team during its parent meeting ahead of fall camp. Everyone is on the same accord in Buchanan--a taste of the postseason was nice but they want more.

“We want to pick up where we left off,” Jennings said. James River’s postseason appearance in the fall of 2021 was its first under head coach Tim Jennings and first time in school history the Knights hosted a postseason game.

That opening round matchup with Martinsville ended in a 16-13 loss--something this year’s squad remembers vividly and is using as motivation.

James River feels like its moving in the right direction with added depth and experience returning in 2022. The skill positions have been the shining part of the team in camp, a group that includes all-region running back Conner Church. He’s hoping the team can find a spark early in the season as it did last year when it put together a 4-game win streak.

“Honestly, I think that might be the most important thing like getting the season started all on a good note and it gives us the motivation, it gives us the build up to keep it going throughout the season,” Church said. Lineman John Austin agreed.

“Starting off every game right, we have to start our season off right, so if we can do that I think it will really carry-on throughout the season,” Austin said.

With unfinished business on their minds, the Knights now know it’s not only the start that’s important but the finish as well--hence their determination to play all four quarters.

“It didn’t take much to get them to buy into that, and kind of adopt that and that’s what they have been embracing ever since so we want to just pick up where we left off in November and just move past that,” said Jennings.

James River’s season will begin on the road at Buffalo Gap Friday night.

About the Author

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.

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