Thomas Jefferson High is going for third win Friday

Fred Jeter | 9/9/2021, 6 p.m.
The Thomas Jefferson High School football program has picked up in 2021 where it left off in 2019.

The Thomas Jefferson High School football program has picked up in 2021 where it left off in 2019.

Following a year’s absence from the gridiron due to COVID-19, the new Vikings are looking like the Vikings of old under first-year head Coach Josef Harrison.

The Class 2A Richmond school improved to 2-0 Sept. 2 with a 20-6 win over Class 5A Meadowbrook High School. The Vikings had opened a week earlier with a 7-0 shutout of Armstrong High School.

Some of the current standouts were part of the 2019 team under Coach P.J. Adams that posted an 11-3 record en route to the State semifinals.

Arthur Sutton, a sophomore on the 2019 team, is two years older and emerging as an elite running back. Sutton rushed for 115 yards at Meadowbrook, featuring a 45-yard touchdown scamper. Sutton added an interception from his defensive safety slot.

Treymon Green and Josiah Hargrove scored the other TJ touchdowns.

“We haven’t had a lot of chances to prac- tice due to the weather and transportation issues, but I’m happy to see the progress,” said Coach Harrison, a Baltimore native who played and helped coach football for Virginia Union University.

“We’ve got 35 kids now and we’re hop- ing to pick up a few more (after) school opens,” he said.

Defensively, Amari Jackson was the ringleader against Meadowbrook, with an interception, a sack, two tackles behind the line of scrimmage and six solo tackles.

Dominique Williams and Kentre Darden have led a relentless pass rush that has resulted in a total of 14 sacks in two games.

“We’re doing a great job of flying to the ball,” Coach Harrison said of his aggressive defense.

The Thomas Jefferson backs are running behind an NFL-sized offensive line. Zadier Artis, Jaden Goodwin and Timarion Venable are all well over 6 feet tall and 300 pounds.

The Vikings will travel to Amelia on Friday, Sept. 10, in hopes of making it 3-0. Looking farther ahead, there’s not a game on the schedule in which the Vikings will be clear underdogs. That’s very unusual for a city school.

Not wanting to take it too fast, Coach Harrison said, “Our goal is to go 1-0 every week.”