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Dragons focus on defense

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By Jason Avery

News-Times Staff

After spending their first day of practice working more on offense, Junction City focused on defense in their practice Tuesday morning.

“We emphasized defense today, but worked both sides of the ball. We worked a little offense in there,” said Junction City coach Steven Jones. “We were moving around really well defensively. Our scout team did a good job of giving us a good look at some generic offense so we could get lined up and go. We were able to run two groups defensively and get a lot of snaps in.”

Jones said that the itinerary for today’s practice won’t change from Monday and Tuesday’s practices.

“The schedule will be a lot like the first two days,” Jones said. “We’re going to work both sides of the ball. We’re not going to incorporate any special teams until later in the week. We’ll continue to drill fundamentals.”

Although teams can begin to don pads on Thursday, Jones said the Dragons will hold off on practicing in pads.

“We probably won’t be in pads until next week,” Jones said. “We like where we’re at. From a health standpoint, we want to keep everybody fresh and ready to go. We’ve got a few guys coming back from injuries, so we’re slowly going to get into that part of it.”

Despite the season starting a week earlier with the addition of zero week, Jones said he hasn’t had to make any adjustments to the practice schedule thanks to their summer slate.

“I don’t think so, especially with our summer schedule and how much we were able to do and accomplish,” Jones said. “I think that gets us ready earlier than usual.”

The Dragons participated in several camps and 7-on-7 tournaments during a busy summer.

“You’re allowed eight competitive days in the summer, and we tried to fill those up,” Jones said. “We actually only did seven. We pretty much had a full schedule. I had great attendance to take all of the guys, and we got a lot of reps. We filmed everything that we did throughout the summer, and we were able to watch and break everything down and improve.”

With practice underway, Jones is happy with where things stand with his team.

“I feel like we’re where we need to be on both sides of the ball,” Jones said. “The good thing about where we’re at health-wise is we’ve got a full squad, so we can really get a lot of good reps. We have Semaj Levingston back. He had shoulder surgery at the end of the season last year, and he’s back to 100 percent. He’s going to be a force for us at defensive end this year. Having him back along with everyone else in there has been good.”

Jones also singled out junior Jamie Carroll for his play.

“Jamie Carroll has come along at our fullback spot,” Jones said. “He’s been a bright spot on the offense this summer. It’s kind of an unexpected surprise with how well he’s done at fullback this summer. He’s really come along.”

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