THE JEFFERSON football team’s 5-6 record at the recent University of Alabama’s seven-on-seven tournament may lack some luster. But the fierce competition may explain that won-loss tally.
Every team the Dragons faced at the June 15-16 tournament was a Class AAAA school or larger. Included in Jefferson’s five victories were multiple wins over state champions from other states. The Dragons even beat a Class AAAAAAA champion from Arkansas.
“So the competition was really outstanding,” said Jefferson coach T. McFerrin, whose team is coming off a 8-3 season. “We saw a lot of great players there.”
The Dragons move on to a passing league tournament at Athens Christian Thursday.
At the University of Alabama tournament, Jefferson played two games at Bryant-Denny Stadium, home of the defending national champion Crimson Tide. That proved to be quite an experience for those Dragons playing in this tournament for the first time (the team attended the camp last year).
“I think that was an exciting thing for them, to be in a stadium with 100,000 seats,” McFerrin said.
Jefferson, the smallest school at the tournament, dropped its first three games Friday despite moving the ball well. The Dragons then closed the day with victories in three of their last four games.
With a 3-4 record, the Dragons earned a no. 12 seed for the double elimination tournament on day two. Jefferson was eliminated after four games, going 2-2.
McFerrin said quarterback Bryant Shirreffs had a great day Friday and that senior receiver McKay Dickens had an outstanding two days.
“He made some tremendous catches,” McFerrin said of Dickens.
In fact, Dickens caught a game-winning pass in one of Jefferson’s victories. Meanwhile, Isaiah Blake had a game-ending interception in the end zone to give the Dragons a win in another game (the score was tied and teams were awarded points for turnovers). McFerrin said Blake played “extremely well.”
“We had some really encouraging things happen, too,” McFerrin said. “Just going against great athletes and the way our players played.”
Tight end Donny Hatfield also had two days showing at the camp, according to McFerrin.
The coach noted that Jefferson had just two rising seniors on offense and two rising seniors on defense.
“That just shows you how young we are,” McFerrin said.
The biggest benefit from the trip — reps. And a lot of them.
McFerrin pointed out his team played 11 games in a little over a 24-hour period. The coach said his team was well worn-out by the end of Saturday.
“It was a lot of reps and a lot of good work and we got some guys that got a lot better,” McFerrin said. “So we had to feel like we got something out of the trip.”