Dragons know rest of region will be gunning for them
Two-time defending region champion Jefferson may have graduated 17 seniors off last year’s team — 12 of which played on both sides of the football — but the Dragons know that no one in the region is feeling sorry for them.
Senior Zach Allen, a standout fullback and defensive end, said Jefferson will most certainly be in opponent’s cross hairs in 2010, whether the program is rebuilding or not.
“Definitely,” Allen said during Jefferson’s picture day on Saturday. “It’s pretty bad. Everybody wants to beat us because we haven’t been beat. We’ve just got to stand up to the hype.”
There’s been hype aplenty surrounding the Dragon program in recent years.
Jefferson, which begins Region 8-AA play in week three against Dawson County, enters the year riding a 20-game regular season unbeaten streak and an 18-0 mark in region play since moving up to 8-AA — not to mention those two region titles.
But the Dragons lost much of their star power from last year, including standouts like Darius Minor, Lucas Redd, J.J. Damons and Caleb Meek.
What’s more, Jefferson must lineup against a schedule that includes six playoff teams from last year: Commerce (non-region game), North Hall (non-region game), Hart County, Elbert County, North Oconee and East Jackson.
In fact, the level of difficulty could be of historic proportions.
“It’s probably going to be the toughest schedule that Jefferson has ever played,” Allen said. “(But) I think we can handle it because of the pressure we’ve been under: back-to-back undefeated (regular) seasons.”
Jefferson is in the middle of its second week of preseason camp and has installed most of its offense and defense as it continues to prepare for its Aug. 27 opener against rival Commerce.
Jefferson, which averaged 36 points a game last year, could be more of a smash mouth team on offense this year due to the losses it suffered from graduation. Defensively, the Dragons, who only gave up 14 points a game in 2009, will continue to try to stifle opponents.
“Defense, we have a great line this year, we have a great set of linebackers and a new set of DB’s that are fast and quick, so I don’t think anybody is going to be able to do anything with us this year on defense,” said Allen, who was a first-team all-region defensive end last year.
While Jefferson’s schedule might the toughest in school history, it is perhaps the most interesting, too. The Dragons face all three in-county teams this year: Commerce, East Jackson and Jackson County.
Allen believes all the familiarity will make things lively and fun this fall.
“It’s awesome,” Allen said. “We get to play all the guys we know around here that talk crap all the time.”
With 16 days left before the season opener, Allen is ready for the real hitting to begin.
“Oh, yeah, taking heads off,” Allen said. “I can’t wait.”
Jefferson running back Chris Jackson is driven back by a swarm of Dragon defenders Monday in practice.
WOW - what garbage - t osay it's the toughest schedule Jefferson has ever played! This sounds like an excuse to lose even before they get started. How funny - the young man made a statement about the trash talking from other schools - Jefferson is known for it's arrogance and trash talk.
If they want to act like they are a Buford quality team then they need to stand up and play teams out of their region - beat them soundly then brag. Up to now they stick to where they believe they can win - even if they import players.
Good Luck - I think you'll need it when you play the big boys.