For the first time this fall, Jefferson could relax in the second half.
Following nail-biters against Commerce and North Hall the first two weeks, the Dragons (2-1) breezed past Dawson County 35-14 last Friday at home.
Sophomore quarterback Bryant Shirreffs passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more as Jefferson won its region cross-over game and tuned-up for a huge meeting with Hart County Friday.
“The defense got off the field more than we have been,” Dragon defensive back Jason Demos said. “We had been playing a lot more (in the first two games). We got a little bit more of a break. It felt nice to have a break.”
Shaquille Maxey slips past a Dawson County tackler Friday in Jefferson's 35-14 win. Photo by Ben Munro
In addition to Shirreffs’ two ground scores, Jefferson got a pair of touchdowns through the air. Hoytes Damons caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Shirreffs in the first quarter and Cole Givens grabbed a 15-yard scoring strike from Shirreffs in the second quarter.
“We executed well, but we could have had more intensity,” said Givens of the offense. “But we executed really well and we took advantage of what we saw.”
Shirreffs finished 14-of-17 with 162 yards in the air for the Dragons, who led 28-7 at the half.
“Bryant Shirreffs played a great game,” said coach T. McFerrin, noting the quarterback’s completion percentage.
Chris Jackson also had a three-yard touchdown run in the first half.
The Dragons ran for 189 yards on the ground, led by Nathan Carson (81 yards) and Shaquille Maxey (55 yards).
McFerrin noted the efforts of the players up front in the victory.
“The offensive line played the best game it’s played all year,” McFerrin said.
Dustin Casey graded out the highest on the offensive line, while Cody Berryman “had another great game,” McFerrin said. Kevin Selleck and Bryan Norris also rated well.
Defensively, both Chris Jackson and Carson Newman had nine tackles to lead Jefferson, while McKay Dickens had eight.
Demos grabbed an interception in the first quarter — the first of his career — to set up the Dragons’ first touchdown.
“It felt great to have the ball in my hands,” he said. “I tried to score but I got tripped up.”
Demos finished with six tackles and one pass-break up. Carson picked off a pass in the fourth quarter.
“Nathan Carson had an outstanding game,” McFerrin said.
Zach Allen had one sack and two tackles for loss.
Jefferson allowed 200 yards through the air but limited the Tigers to 29 yards on the ground.
“We need to have better coverage in all of the secondary,” Demos said. “We did better on the run. The past couple of weeks we hadn’t been doing good on the run.”