JEFFERSON’S opponents may be monopolizing the time of the possession, but the Dragons are making their snaps count. Big time.
Case in point: Jefferson’s Friday win over Class AAA North Hall.
The Dragons — who play at Dawson County this Friday night — ran just 39 plays but racked up 349 yards in a 38-28 win.
“The big plays are what won the ball game for us because we didn’t have the ball a lot,” Jefferson coach T. McFerrin said. “I think we only had 39 snaps, I believe. We normally average about 55 or 56, so we were fortunate to make some big plays.”
That’s been the story of the young season so far for Jefferson, which has won five straight dating back to last year and is averaging a staggering 43.8 points per game during the streak.
Through two games this season, Jefferson attempted just 68 offensive plays. But it has racked up 686 total yards.
That’s an average of just over 10 yards per attempt.
Of course, not all of Jefferson’s highlights have come on offense.
The Dragons scored off a blocked punt Friday against North Hall after Carson Newman got a hand on the ball and Cole Givens ran it in. This came a week after Jefferson got a 53-yard defensive score from Drew Carson, who picked up a Commerce fumble and sprinted free down the sideline for a touchdown.
But the Jefferson offense right now is providing most of the fireworks.
At the controls is junior Bryant Shirreffs, who has passed for nearly 400 yards in two games. Shirreffs had another solid night Friday, needing just six completions to throw for 155 yards. He added 60 yards on nine rushes and one touchdown.
“Bryant Shirreffs had a great game,” McFerrin said. “He threw the ball well and ran it exceptionally well and made some big plays for us.”
Shirreffs’ favorite target continues to be the explosive Givens, who caught three passes for 120 yards Friday, including a 62-yard touchdown on a tunnel screen.
“He’s made big plays for us in all three games — the scrimmage game and the two regular season games,” McFerrin said. “All our receivers caught the ball well. Will Puckett made a clutch catch on the goal line, and McKay Dickens had two key catches for us.”
Givens is particularly dangerous after the catch. His two biggest plays of the season — the 62-yard score Friday and a 57-yard reception against Commerce — came on passes he turned into big gains.
“He’s a threat with the ball,” McFerrin said. “He’s got good speed and has got good instincts and he breaks a lot of tackles.”
Jefferson has mixed in its running game well, too, in 2011.
The Dragons ran for 195 yards on just 28 attempts against North Hall and are averaging nearly seven yards a carry this season. The ground game accounted for three touchdowns Friday: Shirreffs scored from one-yard out, Tristen Jackson (who finished with 75 yards) had a 36-yard score and Drequn Sewell ran in from two-yards out. Sewell’s score came in the fourth quarter after North Hall had cut the Dragons’ lead to 28-20 and gave Jefferson much-needed breathing room (Asher Orr then iced the win with a 25-yard field goal late).
McFerrin gave a lot of credit for Friday night’s success to Jefferson’s offensive line which helped pave the way to these big numbers.
“The offensive line played really well,” McFerrin said. “They blocked a good defensive front, so we were proud of the offensive line.”