For the third consecutive season and for the fifth time since 2003, the Johns Hopkins football team has opened the year with a 6-0 overall record and a 5-0 mark in the Centennial Conference. Accompanying that success is mounting pressure to maintain that perfect record.
But several players said the Blue Jays don't feel that burden.
“We take everything week by week,” senior quarterback Robbie Matey said after the team’s 42-17 rout of Dickinson on Friday night. “So the next week is just as important as the last week. Is there more on the line? Yes, but we don’t feel pressure or any anxiety. We’re just taking it week by week, and we’re trying to play the best football that Hopkins football can play.”
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Sophomore running back Brandon Cherry said the team is more concerned with playing the perfect game than protecting a perfect record.
“When we go into games, we try not to worry about our opponent, but about how good we can play,” the Parkville native and Boys’ Latin graduate said. “We just have constant pressure to be the best we can be.”
The victory over Dickinson as well as Ursinus’ 28-7 upset loss to Juniata on Saturday moved Johns Hopkins – which moved from No. 14 to No. 12 in the most recent American Football Coaches Association poll – into sole possession of first place in the conference.
But coach Jim Margraff pointed out that the Blue Jays still have four league games left, including showdowns with Ursinus (5-1, 4-1) and Franklin and Marshall (4-2, 4-1) on back-to-back Saturdays in November.
“We’re focused on Gettysburg [this Saturday], but with our schedule and the way things are playing out, we are certainly backloaded because we play Ursinus and Franklin and Marshall,” Margraff said Wednesday morning. “With one loss in the head-to-head competition, you lose out on postseason play possibly. So we’ve got a ton of football in front of us and there are two teams that – if they beat us – are tied with us for first place. So it’s got no impact with what we’re doing or how we’re conducting business right now.”