The 5-foot-8 playmaker is an outwardly emotional player and always has been.
After quarterback Jake Novello threw the third of his four interceptions in Mainland’s 35-24 home loss to Bartram Trail, wide receiver Brian Jenkins sped toward a metal bench on the sidelines to be by himself.
The 5-foot-8, 160-pound speedster sat with his helmet unstrapped, exposing his all-white eye accessories and a face of disappointment. It was the third such time during that game where he strayed toward the bench to reflect.
“I’ve always been that way since I was a little kid,” Jenkins said. “I give everything I do 100%, so when I don’t execute and if winning wasn’t the point, why keep score?”
Jenkins, who likes to call himself “Juice”, is a team captain and as a senior, a de facto leader on a Mainland squad that is underwhelming at this point in the season.
At 1-1, the Buccaneers are by no means in a dire situation, but with the loss to Bartram Trail, Mainland snapped a 30-game home winning streak that spanned back to 2010.
Jenkins was frustrated during the game and afterwards, when former players, namely last season’s quarterback Denzel Houston, criticized this year’s Mainland team. Houston tweeted that Mainland’s players care too much about their stats and not enough about winning.
Jenkins responded to him by saying one thing: “Not all players.”
“I feel like the former players are frustrated because we have a long history of winning at Mainland, so us losing is a letdown and they might view it as if some guys don’t care,” Jenkins said. “Me being the captain of this team, I realize that we care about winning and losing. Our guys are not just worried about stats. I get tire
"I get tired of having to argue with former players about us losing. I want to erase all the doubts out of everybody’s mind."
Brian Jenkins, Mainland wide receiver
d of having to argue with former players about us losing. I want to erase all the doubts out of everybody’s mind.”
Houston graduated and is now at FAU, so Mainland has turned to Novello as the team’s talisman with mixed results. After throwing four interceptions against Bartram Trail and rarely looking comfortable in the pocket, the Ocoee transfer is having a hard time adjusting.
But he has his team’s support. Jenkins, for one, knows how good Novello can be, and notes how much he cares.
“I notice he gets hard on himself, and I can understand how he’s feeling about letting the team down or making a bad play,” Jenkins said. “But it’s about encouraging everyone around you and all of your teammates. It’s always about the next play.”
Having lost two of his first three games when including a preseason loss to Apopka, the team will need to rely on its leaders to move the season forward.
Jenkins feels confident that Mainland will turn things around, because according to him, the team has some of the best all-around talent in the area.
“Our running backs are all returning running backs and we have one of the best receiving corps in the state of Florida,” Jenkins said. “For us, it’s tough when you lose a guy like Denzel Houston at quarterback. A guy like that comes around every decade. It’s about getting them (offensive line) up to speed with the blocking scheme and the pace is the toughest thing for us.”
When asked what his ultimate goal is for the season, it wasn’t to get a college offer, be the best player on his team or score the most touchdowns.
“I want to do whatever I can to let my team win.” Jenkins said.