NORTON, Va. (WJHL) – A loss on the playoffs is always a tough way for a team to end its season. Even worse: a COVID-19 forfeit loss.
That’s what hit J.I Burton in this past spring season, watching its season end at the region championship game with a COVID outbreak within the team, handing Holston a trip to the state semifinals.
A heartbreaking end of the season has turned into motivation to finish the job this year. In head coach Jacob Caudill’s third season, the Black Raiders are ready to get back at it and thankful to be doing it during this time of year, compared to the awkward spring season.
“It’s kinda like waiting on Christmas as a kid you wanna get back out here in July and August to be able to do stuff with the ball get back out in the heat in the spring we got out here for practice and there was 6 inches of snow for the first day of practice so it was a little bit different but coming back to the fall has really felt good I think the players have really enjoyed it I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” Caudill said.
Bringing the team’s quarterback/running back combo back for another season has Burton in a great position. Jaymen Buchanan is back under center and Esau Teasley is back carrying the football, a scary thought for the rest of the conference.
Teasley had 65 carries in last year’s spring season, racking up 538 yards and five touchdowns in just five games. Buchanan threw for nearly 400 yards and four scores, as well as being a dangerous threat with his feet.
“Esau is a special player and I love playing with him his speed is a game changer in every game we play and it’s great having him as a teammate we just try to get better every day keep working even when it’s hot when it’s cold rain shine every day get better,” Buchanan said.
“Should be pretty good, we’re two of the leaders on the team we know how to control the offense especially Jaymen he’s the quarterback and I just do my part I run the ball,” Teasley said.
John I. Burton opens the 2021 season on the road at Ridgeview for a nonconference showdown on Friday, August 27th.