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Posted: Saturday, October 13th 2012 at 1:36am

Dragons take control in 8-AA, tame Wildcats

By Jeff Hart Staff
click to enlarge
Jefferson coach T McFerrin
TIGER -- Jefferson was hoping to prove that last week’s win over then Class AA eighth-ranked Washington-Wilkes was no fluke. The Dragons did just that Friday night against Rabun County – and then some.

Ninth-ranked Jefferson had no letdown and proved it will be the team to beat in Region 8-AA after taking a stunning 55-7 win over Rabun County at Frank Snyder Stadium.

The game was a showdown for first place in the region and senior quarterback Bryant Shirreffs had another huge game rushing for 118 yards and three second half touchdowns to help the Dragons (5-1, 3-0 in region) take control in the standings.

"Bryant decided to put the team on his shoulders and he did that," Jefferson coach T. McFerrin said. "We were not pleased with how we played in the first half with too many penalties and missed opportunities. We just decided to run the ball right at them in the second half and the guys really responded."

The more-experienced Dragons took advantage of two third quarter turnovers by the young upstart Wildcats to extend a 13-7 halftime lead to 28-7 heading into the fourth quarter. The Jefferson defense then continued its strong play from last week to shut out Rabun County in the second half.

In the fourth quarter the Dragons stopped the Wildcats twice deep in their own territory to give the Dragons two short drives as they blew game open in the final 12 minutes with 27 points.

Both offenses came in red hot with Jefferson averaging 31 points and Rabun just over 36 points a game. But it was the Jefferson defense that stole the show for a second straight week. The Dragons have yielded just seven total points against two of the better offenses in Class AA.

The Jefferson defense made the first big play and then put the finishing touches on the lopsided win. The Dragons’ Mikey Dickens hit Rabun quarterback Wes Holcombe on a blitz, forcing a fumble that Rufus Whitfield scooped up and returned 35 yards for a touchdown less than four minutes into the game for a 7-0 lead.

Trent Sorrells intercepted a Holcombe pass and returned it 85 yards with two seconds left in the game for the final score.

"(The defense) has gotten better each week and I like how they are playing aggressive right now. That’s a good offense and they did a good job of stopping them," McFerrin said.

It wasn’t until the second quarter that both offenses finally got untracked. Jefferson mounted the first solid drive on its first possession of the second quarter going 41 yards in four plays, capped by a 14-yard run from Sammy Williams for a 13-0 lead. His run was set up by a 27-yard pass from Shirreffs to Sorrells. Shirreffs would finish unofficially 11-of-20 for 102 yards and one touchdown in the air.

Rabun finally got its offense going in the second quarter after the Wildcats defense forced a Jefferson punt. Holcombe hit four straight passes leading the Wildcats from their own 23 to the Dragons 18, highlighted by a 30-yard pass to Clint Scott. They got on the board on an old-fashioned Statue of Liberty play with Collin Grant connecting with Alden Wright on an 18-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 13-7 after a Carlos Diaz extra point.

Jefferson was poised to add on to its lead late in the half driving to the Rabun 19 with 19 seconds left. But the Wildcats’ Kendall Woodard snagged a tipped ball out of the air at the goal line to thwart the drive and keep the Wildcats close at halftime.

Jefferson will try to keep its perfect region record going playing host to Oglethorpe County next week while the Wildcats face another tough home game playing host to Washington-Wilkes for second place in the region.

NOTES: Jefferson now holds a 17-3 lead in the series and has won 14 straight over the Wildcats in a sporadic series of meetings. Seven of those 13 wins were in Tiger….The last Rabun win over Jefferson was in 1955….The Wildcats came into the game with an all-time record of 312-312-12…..Rabun was looking for its first 5-1 start since 1999……Jefferson is 8-1 in its last nine regular season road games.

Jefferson.........7.....6....15.....27 -- 55
Rabun Co..........0…....7.....0......0 -- 7

First Quarter
JEF – Whitfield 65 fumble recovery (Schlutow kick) 8:33, 7-0

Second Quarter
JEF – S. Williams 14 run (kick failed) 10:35, 13-0
RC – Wright 18 pass from Grant (Diaz kick) 3:02, 13-7

Third Quarter
JEF – Shirreffs 17 run (S. Williams run) 9:40, 21-7
JEF – Shirreffs 2 run (Schlutow kick) 5:36, 28-7

Fourth Quarter
JEF – Shirreffs 2 run (Schlutow kick) 11:22, 35-7
JEF – T. Jackson 7 run (Schlutow kick) 7:56, 42-7
JEF – Strickland 1 run (kick failed) 4:19, 48-7
JEF – Sorrells 85 interception return (Schlutow kick) :02, 55-7
Associated Categories: Sports News, High School Sports

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