JEFFERSON hasn’t had any problems winning region games this year. One more victory would make the Dragons’ domination official.
Jefferson (7-1, 5-0) can clinch the Region 8-AA title with a victory over Riverside Military Academy (1-7, 1-4) this Friday on homecoming at Memorial Stadium.
“It ought to mean a heck of a lot because there haven’t been a whole lot of region championships in recent years at Jefferson,” Dragon coach T. McFerrin said.
Jefferson, whose last region championship came in 2009, has won just five region football titles but look primed for no. 6.
The Dragons are coming off a 47-10 win over Social Circle, led by a 130-yard, two touchdown effort from tailback Sammy Williams. The Dragons finished with 511 yards in their seventh consecutive win.
On the other hand, Riverside Military is coming off a 22-13 loss to Glascock County this past Friday in non-region action. The Eagle program — which won a GISA state title back in 2004 — has won just twice in its last 20 games.
Still, Riverside has some talent.
One of the Eagles’ featured players is freshman running back Elijah Holyfield, son of former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.
“He’s a freshman but he looks like a senior,” McFerrin said. “He’s a big boy and he can really run. In fact, we’re going to show some clips today (Monday) to the defense before they go out of him scoring long touchdowns against Rabun.”
Another weapon is the multi-purpose Adrian Humphrey who lines up at both tailback and quarterback.
“They move him around and get him the ball,” McFerrin said.
Riverside also has some girth in the trenches. McFerrin points out that the Eagles have a 320-lb. nose guard.
“They’ve got some size,” McFerrin said. “They play hard. They’ve got some good players. This is a huge game for us.”
Huge because a region championship would assure the Dragons home field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs and a first-round matchup against a no. 4 seed.
“Plus the fact that you can always say you won a region championship,” McFerrin said.
Those incentives alone should have the team ready to play, the coach said.
“They better be,” McFerrin said. “I don’t know what else could motivate them anymore than that. That’s pretty important.”
Jefferson is also aiming for a perfect season in Region 8-AA play. At 5-0, the Dragons have been in the drivers’ seat ever since a 31-0 shellacking of then-no. 6 Washington-Wilkes back on Oct. 5.
“I told the players to stay focused and let’s keep the same slogan we’ve had each week since Washington-Wilkes and that’s ‘no letdown,’” McFerrin said.