2021 High School Football Preview: Johnson City


JOHNSON CITY, NY – Over the last few years, the Johnson City football team has struggled.

With 2014 being the last time JC finished with a record above .500, there’s reason to justify that.

However, with a new system being grasped, talent across the field, and a high level of confidence, this year, the Wildcats are out to prove to everyone that they’re ready to compete with the best.

“We’re ready to go. We’re going to try and make the adjustments we need to. We’re going to try and put everything together. We’ve got a lot of good athletes on our team. We’ve got a lot of good, new pieces that we’ve put in. I’m excited to get going,” says Senior Braeden Miller.

If you’re doubted in life by someone, you always want to prove them wrong.

It’s safe to say the 2021 Johnson City Wildcats football team is feeling that way.

With 2 wins over the last 2 seasons, there’s reason to be skeptical.

While every team obviously wants to win games, head coach Todd Place doesn’t see that as the end-all be-all for his team.

Rather, he wants to see them continue to learn his system and improve each day they’re on the field.

“I want the effort to be there every day. I want consistency across the board with the coaches and the players. And I want us to leave the field that day, I don’t care if it’s 1-percent better than it was the previous day, I want us to improve every day. If that continues to happen throughout the season, I like the chances of where we could end up in the back half of the season,” he said.

For the players, the belief has to be there that they can win.

And so far in camp, it seems to be.

Senior Braeden Miller has felt what it’s like to struggle as a team on the field. But, he believes this year’s unit is close to taking a big step forward.

“We’ve got a lot of good pieces. We’ve got a lot of athletes on our team. We just need to get everything put together. I think we’re going to improve our defense this year because last year, we started a brand new concept for defense. This year, we’re making little tweaks and adjustments to make it close to perfect, if possible.”

Last year, J.C. opened their season with a 24-19 win over Union-Endicott.

They dropped their next 3 before beating Binghamton 28-6, then falling to Susquehanna Valley in their finale.

Compared to the 0-8 record the year prior, this was a sizeable improvement for the Wildcats, especially considering they played SV and Chenango Valley tough as well.

Still not convinced on J.C. this year? Well, coach Place is just fine with that.

“That’s fine by me. Underestimate us, think whatever you want. We’re going to show up. We’re going to put in the work. And we’re going to come out and fight you every single, every minute that we’re on the field against you. So, to me, that’s fine. I’m one-hundred percent okay with people underestimating us.”

So, if you’re an opposing team getting ready for J.C. and are thinking of underestimating them, consider yourselves warned.

J.C. begins what could be their redemption tour on Friday, September 10th when they travel to Union-Endicott at 7 PM.

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