Jefferson's football team certainly left its fans wanting more.
The Dragons (6-4, 3-3) closed the season with three consecutive outings of at least 40 points — capped off with a 49-0 whipping of East Hall last Friday — to clinch a winning season and a happy offseason.
“It was good to end the season with three straight wins,” coach T. McFerrin said. “It took away some of the bitter taste in our mouths from the middle part of the season.”
In each of these last three victories, the Dragons piled up 35 points in the first half to essentially end the game by intermission. McFerrin said he can’t remember having another team accomplish such a streak in his lengthy coaching career.
“No, I don’t think I have,” McFerrin said. “I was really proud of the way they played.”
Just four weeks ago, Jefferson was reeling after losing 51-7 to Elbert County in what was a disaster of a night. But the Dragons got back on track with a 42-21 victory over Jackson County Oct. 22 and the other two wins pretty much followed the same script.
“We came out and played our three best games of the year,” McFerrin said.
Still, Jefferson will miss the state playoffs for the first time since 1999. This is also unfamiliar territory for McFerrin, who is the state’s fifth all-time winningest coach. McFerrin’s teams have advanced to the postseason in 17 out of his last 19 years dating back to his days with Tucker, Elbert County and South Gwinnett.
“I’m used to working through Thanksgiving,” McFerrin noted.
But he also pointed out only five teams that make the state playoffs — the state title winners at each classification — end the year happy.
So though missing out on the postseason certainly stings, closing the season with three regular season victories provided some consolation.
“Every one of our coaches wishes that we were still working … But it was good to go out with three wins,” McFerrin said.
This past season was certainly a trying one for Dragon coaches and players. Jefferson lost a lot of talent due to graduation, found itself in a much tougher region and dealt with a multitude of injuries.
But McFerrin said he’s not going to dwell on the tough circumstances, but rather how this team responded.
“I’m going to try to remember the good,” McFerrin said.