This wasn’t the kind of welcome Jefferson wanted to give Hart County to Region 8-AA.
Hart County, which dropped down from Region 8-AAA this year, scored 15 unanswered points in the second half Friday to hand Jefferson (2-2, 0-1) a 27-17 loss and its first setback in subregion play.
Hart County (2-1-1, 1-0) rolled up 211 yards on the ground in moving to 1-0 in the subregion standings.
The Dragons led 17-12 at the break, but Hart County responded with an 11-play scoring drive to open the second half and tacked on a two-point conversion to grab a 20-17 lead.
Hart County sealed the win in the fourth quarter with a 15-yard touchdown run from quarterback Landon Beck, who broke multiple tackles en route to the end zone with 4:07 left in the game.
Things looked much more promising for the Dragons in the first half.
Jefferson got a pair of one-yard touchdown runs from quarterback Bryant Shirreffs and a 34-yard field goal from Asher Orr as the Dragons took a five-point lead into the locker room.
The Dragons would have perhaps led by more if not for a costly miscue in the second quarter. With Jefferson pinned deep in its own territory, Hart County batted down an option pitch and the Bulldogs fell on the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown.
While that play certainly hurt, there were several other factors in Friday’s loss, Jefferson coach T. McFerrin said.
“We dropped some key passes,” he said. “I don’t think it’s one play. I think it’s an accumulation of a lot of things.”
Jefferson didn’t turn the ball over in the second half, but didn’t score either as the Dragons suffered their first region loss since 2007.
Jefferson finished with 142 yards on the ground led by Chris Jackson, who ran for 57 yards. Shirreffs was 5-of-13 through the air for 90 yards. Jackson also led the Dragons in receiving with 46 yards.
McFerrin noted the efforts of Kevin Selleck and Dusty Casey along a shorthanded offensive front.
Jackson had a busy night defensively as well, logging 10 tackles and two tackles for loss.
“Chris Jackson played a great game on both sides of the ball,” McFerrin said.
Zach Allen — who had 41 yards on the ground — also had 10 tackles and one tackle for loss.
“Zach Allen played his best game of the year,” McFerrin said.
Jason Demos finished with eight tackles, a tackle for loss and one pass break-up. Kyle Mosley had six tackles and one interception.
Rushing: Jackson 8-57 yards, Sewell 11-49 yards, Allen 7-41 yds.
Passing: Shirreffs 5-13, 90 yds
Receiving: Jackson 2-46 yds, Maxey 1-24 yds