Jefferson was tangled in down-to-the-wire affairs the first two weeks before getting a respite last Friday against Dawson County.
While the 35-14 win over the Tigers was nice, Jefferson will draw upon what it learned in those pressure-cookers — a 17-14 victory over Commerce Aug. 27 and a narrow 24-21 loss to Class AAA power North Hall Sept. 3 — as it readies for Hart County Friday and subregion play in general.
“Those first couple of games were close,” Jefferson senior defensive back Jason Demos said. “That’s going to help us later on this season. I feel that’s how these next three games are going to be. I feel like we’ve matured from them.”
Jefferson hopes to have matured enough to go on the road and beat a big-name foe in its subregion opener.
Bryant Shirreffs threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more in Jefferson's 35-14 victory over Dawson County.
The Dragons nearly notched a huge non-region victory two weeks ago against North Hall. Now Jefferson gets a crack at Hart County, which went 8-3 and advanced to the Class AAA playoffs last year. The Bulldogs are 113-32 the last 12 seasons with 11 trips to the playoffs.
“They’re going to be tough,” receiver Cole Givens said Friday after Jefferson’s win over Dawson County. “They’re really physical and they’re athletic. We’re probably going to have to spread it out and beat them with our athleticism.”
Hart County is 1-1-1 after tying Franklin County in a lightning-shortened game, losing to Stephens County and beating Union County 33-6 last week.
Jefferson surrendered only 29 yards on the ground in the win over Dawson County last week but gave up 200 yards through the air.
“They’re going to be passing a lot,” Demos said of Hart County. “We’ve got to really tighten up in the secondary. I think we can beat them. I know we can beat them if we do our assignments.”
The matchup with Hart County starts Jefferson’s seven-game subregion slate as the Dragons begin their defense of back-to-back region crowns.
Jefferson knows what it’s in store for against the Bulldogs, who got a lot of attention in Region 8-AA polling.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge,” Jefferson coach T. McFerrin said. “They were the preseason pick to win the region championship.”
Needless to say, Jefferson is fired up for its trip to Hartwell Friday.
“Oh, man, always really fired up,” Demos said. “Always fired up to play any game. Not just that game. Any game is big for us. We’ve got to win all of them.”