HOME     I      SITE-MAP     I     CONTACT     I     PRIVACY     I    PHOTOS    I    SPONSORS     I    COMMUNICATIONS 

 This wasn’t the ending Jefferson wanted.
Dragons dream of a state title ends with loss to Blessed Trinity - 28 - 21

The Dragons (12-1) undefeated season and hope for a Class AAA state title ended with a 28-21 loss to visiting Blessed Trinity (13-0) in the Class AAA quarterfinals on Saturday. Blessed Trinity will play Washington County in the state semifinals.
“It’s been a good season,” Jefferson coach Ben Hall said. “It hurts right now.”
This was Jefferson’s first overtime game since 2013. The Dragons defeated Fitzgerald 53-51 in triple overtime in the Class AA state quarterfinals in 2012.
Blessed Trinity quarterback Conor Davis found Patrick Jasinski on the first play of overtime to put the Titans ahead. Shirreffs first pass attempt to Sammy Williams fell incomplete. He completed his next two passes to Dalton Hill and Rodney Carr, but couldn’t connect with any of his receivers on 4th-and-5.
“We lost to a fine football team and it took extra football to determine the winner,” Hall said. “At the end, they made the play and we didn’t.”
The Dragons trailed 21-14 at halftime and tied the game when Evan Shirreffs found Rodney Carr on a 22-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter. Carr also scored off a 41-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Jefferson forced a three-and-out on the following possession, but Blessed Trinity recovered a Sammy Williams fumble at the end of the third quarter. Jefferson kept the Titans from scoring, but couldn’t get any points of its own on its next possession when Blessed Trinity blocked the Dragons’ field goal attempt.
Jefferson’s first half was marred with penalties, including a roughing the kicker penalty in the second quarter that set up a Blessed Trinity score.
Blessed Trinity’s Milton Shelton opened the scoring with a 1-yard plunge on the first play of the second quarter. Shelton finished the first half with 89 yards on 17 carries.
Jefferson tied the game with a 13-yard run from Williams. Blessed Trinity recovered an onsides kick from Jefferson and capped the drive with a touchdown when Conor Davis found Matthew Higgins on a 30-yard pass. He also connected with Higgins on a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Jefferson went three-and-out on its next drive and looked like it was about to have another scoring chance after the Dragons’ defense forced a Blessed Trinity punt, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Titans a fresh set of downs.
Later in the quarter, Davis again hit Higgins for a 30-yard Touchdown that gave the Dragons their largest deficit of the season.
Jefferson struck back with .57 seconds left in the first half.  Shirreffs threw a 41 yard pass to Rodney Carr that cut the Blessed Trintity lead to 21-14.
The Dragons defense played well in the second half with a tying touchdown screen pass to Carr that covered 22 yards.  Blessed Trintity failed to score the second half.

“It’s just a matter of making plays in the first half that we made throughout the season,” Hall said. “I felt like we had some miscues early on each side of the ball and we got in a hole but our kids fought back. At the end, we didn’t make plays. We didn’t make fundamental plays we made all season.”  Hall said. “I felt like we had some miscues early on each side of the ball and we got in a hole but our kids fought back.

 *  *  *  *  *


JEFFERSON | Another dream season for Jefferson High School has been in the works since the latest campaign kicked off way back on Aug. 22, but in order for this dream to stay alive, the team had to take care of business in its second round matchup with Dodge County on Friday night.
Jefferson did just that against Dodge County, dominating the Indians thanks to an unrelenting ground game led by Sammy Williams that propelled the Dragons to a 27-7 victory and improved their record to 12-0 for the first time in school history. The win also ensures the team’s third consecutive trip to the quarterfinals.
“Our kids were resilient,” Jefferson head coach Ben Hall said. “We were 7-7 in
the first quarter and put the game away in the second quarter… It’s special to be undefeated at this point.”
The Dragons took control of the contest with the very first possession of the game. Guided by timely passes by Evan Shirreffs and hard-nosed running by Williams, Jefferson opened the game with an 11-play, 85-yard drive that was capped off by an 8-yard touchdown run by Williams.
Dodge County knew entering the contest that they needed to make the most of Jefferson’s errors, which is exactly what they did following a fumble recovery by Corvon Parker. Needing a successful drive to ignite the Indians in attendance, the team came through at this juncture, piecing together an 81 yard drive that ended on a 13 yard run by Kyle Glover to tie the game 7-7 with 3:26 remaining in the first quarter.
Jefferson found itself in a highly contested game after one quarter of play, but once the second period rolled around, the Dragons made it their mission to regain the lead and leave Dodge County in the dust.
Williams was nowhere close to calling it a night off the heels of his rushing touchdown early in the first. The senior back made his way through Indians’ defenders once again with 9:29 to go in the second quarter, this time on a 12-yard rush to put Jefferson back on top 14-7.
Jefferson turned to another talented running back with 6:05 showing before halftime, putting Colby Wood in place of Williams prior to an important third down play. The plan worked perfectly, as Woods hit the hole and was gone on an 18-yard run to make it a 21-7 contest.
The Dragons went back to Williams for another shot at scoring, which he certainly made the most of. Williams fought through the line and worked his way past the goal line, adding a 2-yard touchdown to his already impressive night to increase Jefferson’s lead to 27-7 with only 38 seconds remaining before halftime.
Williams was a catalyst for several of Jefferson’s big plays against the Indians. When it was all said and done, Williams had 28 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
Shirreffs had a solid night and made a handful of deep throws in the win, finishing the game with 12 completions for 240 yards.
Jefferson’s next task this season will be a quarterfinal matchup with 12-0 Blessed Trinity next week. Due to their identical records, a coin flip determined that the Dragons will host the undefeated Titans at Jefferson Memorial Stadium.
Blessed Trinity beat Adairsville 42-8 on Friday night.

* * * * * *

Jefferson Dragons defeat Franklin County 38 - 7.  Dodge County next up at Memorial Stadium.

JEFFERSON | Jefferson head coach Ben Hall planned to throw the ball more in the Dragons’ first-round playoff game against Franklin County on Friday.
And the plan clearly worked — Jefferson quarterback Evan Shirreffs connected with five different receivers for nearly 200 passing yards in the first half of the Dragons’ 38-7 rout of visiting Franklin County (4-7).
“Earlier today, Coach Hall talked to me and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to sling it around a little more than usual,’” Shirreffs said. “That’s always good news.”
Shirreffs was 3-for-5 on Jefferson’s (11-0) opening drive. Gage Lawson started the scoring with a 32-yard field goal after a long touchdown run for Sammy Williams was called back due to holding.
He found T.J. Skelton on consecutive drives for scores of 31- and 20 yards. Skelton finished the first half with four catches for 70 yards.
“The defense was playing 10 yards off, so that’s an opportunity to beat them deep,” Skelton said. “I feel like I can beat them with my route running.”
Shirreffs completed seven passes for 10 yards or more as temperatures hovered around 32 degrees in Jefferson.
“We felt like this was a good opportunity to throw the ball around in the cold weather, just get to used to it for future games,” Hall said. “We had a few drops, and that’s to be expected. That’s the first time we’ve thrown the ball that much in the first half, but the defense played well and the offense started clicking after the first drive.”
Williams punched in a 1-yard touchdown to open the second quarter. Freshman Colby Wood scored twice on runs of 10 and 11 yards to end the half.
The Lions did not complete a pass in the first half, and were held to less than 100 yards of offense by the Dragons’ defense.
Franklin County’s Dylan Smith scored on a 32-yard run with 10:24 left in the game to avoid the shutout. Jefferson has shut out one team this season and held opponents to 9.1 points per game during the regular season.
Jefferson, ranked fourth in Class AAA, will host Dodge County on Friday. Dodge County defeated Westside-Macon 14-3. The Dragons, in their first year in Class AAA, have never played Dodge County.

* * * * * * * * *

Dragons complete undefeated regular season, win region championship and move into state playoffs.

HARTWELL | As their game against Hart County approached, Jefferson’s defense focused on stopping Bulldogs quarterback Cameron Fouch.
During a goal-line stand in the Dragons’ 21-14 win, that’s exactly what they did. “We knew they were going to have the ball in his hands and they went away from that and we were able to stop them,” Jefferson coach Ben Hall said. “The defense stepped up and it was a huge stand, the best stand all year.”

The Dragons defense stuffed Fouch on the 5-yard line. Then, they stopped Keenan Dillon twice. On fourth-and-5, three Jefferson defenders pressured Fouch in the backfield, and he overthrew an open Anthony Turner in the end zone.

One Dragons first-down later, Jefferson was celebrating. The fourth-ranked Dragons (10-0, 6-0 in Region 8-AAA) bested seventh-ranked Hart County (9-1, 5-1) in Hartwell to win the Region 8-AAA title in their first season in Class AAA.

The score was knotted at 14 at halftime, and both teams swapped possessions until the fourth quarter when quarterback Evan Shirreffs found Hunter Gatlin on a 4-yard touchdown pass to give the Dragons the lead.  “We knew we had them in good position,” Shirreffs said. “If we could pop out in the second half, get a score, get up on them, we knew it would get in their heads a little bit, especially on their home field and that’s what we did and it worked.”

The score was Shirreffs second passing touchdown of the night. He found Dalton Hill on a 10-yard pass earlier in the game. 
But Hart County answered with an 18-play, 70-yard scoring drive that spanned more than six minutes before Kennan Dillon punched in a 1-yard run to tie the game at 7-all.

Jefferson looked like it was about to break the tie, but Sammy Williams fumbled on the 29-yard line. Williams had nabbed a pass from Shirreffs and was trying to pick up a few extra yards when he lost control of the football. Hart County recovered and eventually capitalized on the turnover with a 1-yard touchdown run from Cameron Fouch a few minutes later.

The Dragons’ next drive nearly stalled around midfield when Jefferson recovered its own fumble. On

fourth-and-1, Shirreffs was forced to scramble before finding T.J. Skelton on a 19-yard pass to extend the drive. Williams finished the drive with a 1-yard scoring run.

Note:  This completes the third undefeated 10 - 0 regular season for the Dragons since 2008.  Coach Bill Navas' last Dragon squad in 2008 won 11 straight before falling in the second round of the state playoffs to the Lovette Lions in Jefferson by a  34 - 24 score. 

The following year ( 2009 ) Coach T. McFerrin's first Dragon squad also won their first 11 games before falling to Buford in the second round of the state playoffs, 30 - 22 in Buford. 

The Dragons also had an undefeated season way back in 1950 with a 9 - 0 - 1 record before falling to Green County in the region championship playoff game.

Jefferson will host the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs on Friday versus Franklin County.

 * * * * * * * *

Shirreffs, Hill team up in Jefferson's 28-16 win over Oconee County

JEFFERSON | When Jefferson quarterback Evan Shirreffs saw an opportunity, he took it.
Often, that meant he was looking for receiver Dalton Hill.
Of Sherriffs’ 218 passing yards in the Dragons 28-16 win over visiting Oconee County on Friday, Hill hauled in 207 of them.
“We just hit him when they were least expecting it,” Shirreffs said. “He did a great job of getting open for me and I just got him the ball.”
Hill grabbed 97- and 63-yard touchdown passes as fourth-ranked Jefferson moved to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in Region 8-AAA play. The Dragons will play eighth-ranked Hart County (9-0, 5-0) in Hartwell next week for the region title.
Shirreffs and Hill got some help from running back Sammy Williams, who scored twice for Jefferson. The first came on the Dragons’ second play on the game, when Williams broke off a 64-yard scoring run.
The Dragons added another quick score six minutes later when Shirreffs, backed up to the 3-yard line, completed the 97-yard pass to Hill.
“They were tight on the line of scrimmage and we tried to loosen them up with play action and we hit some big plays,” Jefferson coach Ben Hall said. “We didn’t execute the way we wanted to execute but we were able to big play them at times.”
Oconee County’s most promising first half drive materialized largely due to the production of Jaleel Laguins, who carried the ball four times for 36 yards. The drive stalled when Zeb Noland’s pass to Chase Major fell incomplete in the end zone.
The Warriors only first half points came off 25-yard field goal from Mehran Ahmadipour with just under four minutes left in the half.
Oconee County nearly caught a break early in the second half. Roques Dowdy picked off a pass from Evan Shirreffs in the end zone. But the Warriors fumbled on the 23-yard line and the Jefferson’s Jonathan Paolozzi recovered the ball to give Jefferson another scoring opportunity. Sammy Williams scored his second touchdown of the night a few plays later.
Laguins pulled the Warriors within 18 in the second half when he scored off a 3-yard run. The scoring play was set up by a 44-yard pass from Noland to Chase Major.
“He keeps getting better and better,” Oconee County coach Travis Noland said. “He’s not a natural running back, but he’s been getting better in practice and getting more reps. He’s an explosive guy and powerful guy so we needed his strength and speed tonight a little bit more than normal.”
Oconee County (7-2, 3-2) will visit Elbert County on Friday.

* * * * * * *

Jefferson Dragons defeat East Jackson 63 - 0. 

Await Undefeated Oconee County this upcoming Friday Night

JEFFERSON 63, EAST JACKSON 0: At Jefferson, Sammy Williams rushed for 136 yards and four first-half touchdowns and the Dragons – ranked No. 4 in Class AAA – rang up 378 offensive yards and 19 first downs to remain undefeated.
Evan Shirreffs completed 8 of 11 passes and tossed a touchdown to T.J. Skelton and Lane Sorrow threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Robinson.
Colby Wood rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown, Alex Mason scored on a 62-yard pass interception return and John Luchetti tallied on a 9-yard rush to complete the scoring.
Jefferson (8-0, 4-0) will host Oconee County at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

* * * * * * * *

Wood helps Jefferson cruise past Morgan County 51 - 16

MADISON | Jefferson’s Colby Wood scored two first-half touchdowns and another in the second half Friday as the Dragons – ranked No. 4 in Class AAA – defeated Morgan County 51-16 in Region 8-AAA play.
The Bulldogs’ 16 points was the most scored on the Dragons this season.
T.J. Skelton started the scoring with a 46-yard pass from Evan Shirreffs in the first quarter. Sammy Williams then added a 1-yard run with 4:33 remaining in the quarter. Wood scored twice in the second quarter on runs of 20 and 24 yards, and Rodney Carr closed out the first-half scoring with a 26-yard reception from Shirreffs.
In the second half, Wood scored on a 2-yard run with 6:37 remaining in the third quarter and Lane Sorrow tallied on a 1-yard rush with three minutes left in the game.
Williams led Jefferson on the ground with 123 yards, followed by Woods’ 115 rushing yards. Shirreffs passed for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
Skelton had 166 receiving yards.
Jefferson (7-0, 2-0) will host East Jackson at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

                                                      * * * * * * * *

Dragons Destroy Elbert County 52 - 6

JEFFERSON | Jefferson High School showed Elbert County first-hand why its a force to be reckoned with in Region 8-AAA.
Just like their first five games of the season, the Dragons rolled to a lopsided win behind their balanced offense and turnover-creating defense. This time, Jefferson jumped ahead early and cruised to a 52-6 win — it’s first victory over the Blue Devils since 1976.
“We ran the ball hard tonight and were able to avoid turnovers,” Dragons head coach Ben Hall said. “We came out firing in the first half, and it was just a nice night.”
Jefferson (6-0) let running back Sammy Williams carry the load to start the game, maximizing his 48-yard kickoff return to open the night’s action by marching down the field and taking an early 7-0 lead on a 2-yard scamper by the senior.
The Dragons’ defense proved it was in the mood for some points as well on Elbert County’s first possession of the contest. Needing to convert on third and long, the Blue Devils had their pass intercepted by Kendrick Robinson, who returned the ball 35 yards for a touchdown to hand Jefferson a 14-0 advantage.
Then the Dragons made the most of their dangerous rushing attack by using play-action passes on a number of occasions, hoping that the acting skills of quarterback Evan Shirreffs and Williams would be enough to fool the Blue Devils’ defense. Shirreffs accomplished just that in the closing seconds of the opening quarter of action, faking the handoff to Williams and instead connecting with wide receiver Dalton Hill on a 30-yard touchdown pass to take a 21-0 lead.
Williams simply would not let Elbert County off the hook, finding the end zone again with 4:50 left before halftime to push the Dragons ahead 28-0. Jefferson tacked on three more points on a 20-yard field goal by Gage Lawson late in the second quarter to hold a 31-0 lead at halftime.
Shirreffs came out in the second half and continued to dissect the Blue Devils’ defense. The third quarter for Jefferson started with a bang, as Shirreffs found wide receiver TJ Skelton beyond the safeties and placed the ball perfectly on a 77-yard touchdown pass.
The ball-hawking defense of the Dragons struck soon after Shelton’s touchdown, as Tradd Porter made an interception and bolted 27 yards to increase the lead to 45-0.
Backup running back Colby Wood stepped in and picked up where Williams left off, entering the game and quickly erupting on a 43-yard run followed shortly thereafter by one for 20 yards. Wood finished off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, making it a 52-0 game.
Elbert County (3-3) pieced together its finest drive of the game late in the third quarter. The Blue Devils drove 68 yards on the heels of a determined running game before Rantious Reed scored on a 5-yard rush to create a 52-6 score.
Williams finished the outing with 14 rushes for 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Shirreffs matched his running back’s productivity with seven completions for 214 yards along with two touchdowns through the air.
The Dragons will defend their perfect record next week when they travel to Morgan County next Friday. The Blue Devils will look to rebound next Friday when they hit the road to take on Jackson County.


* * * * * * * * * * 

Dragons Defeat Jackson County 34 - 7

JEFFERSON | Jefferson was satisfied with its rout of Jackson County on Friday.
But, as the Dragons head into the rest of Region 8-AAA play, they want more.
“We got the win, pretty sloppy coming off the bye week,” Jefferson quarterback Evan Shirreffs said. “But we executed when we needed to.”
The Dragons (5-0, 1-0 in Region 8-AAA) opened its first season in Class AAA with a 34-7 win at neighboring Jackson County (1-4, 0-1) on Friday.
This was the seventh straight win over Jackson County for the Dragons, and the first since 2011 that had region implications.
“It’s certainly a confidence-booster to get your first win in region play,” Shirreffs said.
Jefferson entered the game on a roll after routing its first four out-of-region opponents. That continued on Friday as the Dragons racked up more than 300 yards of offense in the first half and jumped out to a 34-0 lead.
“They’re a good football team,” Jackson County head coach Benji Harrison said. “They made a mistake early in the game and we weren’t able to capitalize on that. We weren’t able to get some confidence with that.”
On Jefferson’s first drive, Jackson County’s Todd Woodring recovered a fumble to give the Panthers the ball on the 43. Jackson County couldn’t convert the turnover into points. From there, it was all Jefferson.
The scoring started with Sammy Williams,  who broke off a 34-yard scoring run with eight minutes left in the first quarter. He finished the half with 139 rushing yards and added a 31- and 1-yard touchdown.
“The line had some good pushes up front,” Williams said. “That was a big thing.”
The Dragons also utilized returning starters Evan Shirreffs and Dalton Hill. Shirreffs, who entered the game with an area-leading 844 passing yards, completed 11 of 17 passes in the first half for 179 yards and two scores, both to Hill.
“They were just sitting back in their zone, so we were just taking what they were giving us and the offensive line was getting good pushes for the RBs,” Shirreffs said. “Everyone seemed to be clicking early on.”
Jackson County avoided the shutout late when Jacob Lewis connected with Chase Wester on a 75-yard touchdown pass.
“We’ve still got to be more physical,” Harrison said. “They were much more physical than we were and because of that, they were able to control both lines of scrimmage. When you’re able to do that, you usually win football games.”
Jefferson will host Elbert County at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Jackson County will visit undefeated Oconee County.


       Jefferson Dragons wins Jackson County bridge war - 28 - 3

The Gainesville Times
JEFFERSON—When it comes to the Battle of the Bridge rivalry between the Jefferson Dragons and Commerce
Tigers, Jefferson head coach Ben Hall said you could throw both teams’ undefeated records out the window.

Because you don’t know what can happen during the rivalry game.

The 2014 edition went to the Dragons, who defeated the Tigers for the second straight year, 28-3, Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

“This is always big,” Hall said. “It’s always a knockdown, drag-out with these guys, and it means a lot to both guys.”

The Dragons (4-0, 0-0) were led by quarterback Evan Shirreffs, who passed for a game-high 133 yards and three touchdowns.

Wide receiver Dalton Hill caught one pass for 67 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Gatlin snagged three receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Rodney Carr added another three for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Darrian Hill led the Dragons’ ground attack, rushing for a game-high 67 yards on six carries. Colby Wood added 36 yards and a touchdown.

The Tigers (2-1, 0-0) were led by Will Thomas who rushed for 62 yards on 17 carries. Quarterback Caleb Brooks added 61 yards on 19 carries.

The Tigers struck first, putting together a 12-play drive that resulted in an Andres Salgado 27-yard field goal to put the Tigers up 3-0 late in the first quarter.

The Dragons’ offense responded by putting together a long drive of its own, going 65 yards in 10 plays that resulted in Shirreffs finding Gatlin on a 6-yard touchdown strike with 10:02 left in the second quarter.

“We know Hunter’s a good receiver, he had a catch last week and we are utilizing him in the backfield and in the passing game,” Hall said. “We thought that he may get overlooked because he hasn’t been a key feature as far as receptions go in the passing game.”

After forcing a second Tigers’ punt, the Dragons’ next possession started at the 41-yard line, but a holding penalty on the first play of the drive sent them back their own 33-yard line and a set up first-and-18.

Shirreffs didn’t let this rattle the offense as he connected with Hill on a 67-yard touchdown strike to quickly put the Dragons ahead 14-3. Then, with 4:10 left in the second quarter, lightning sent the teams scurrying to the locker room and a 30-minute delay ensued.

Coming out of the break, the Dragons continued to sizzle as the defense held the Tigers’ offense on a third-and-3 and fourth-and-1 play. Shirreffs turned the turnover-on-downs into six points as he found Carr from 14 yards away for his third touchdown toss of the first half.

“I just told the guys to stay ready (during the delay),” Hall said. “After 30 minutes (of waiting) we wanted to stop them.

“It was third-and-3 and we stopped them. Then came out and were able to score the last possession of the second half, so that was big. We did a nice job avoiding that distraction and coming out.”

Wood extended the Dragons’ lead to 28-3, pounding his way into the end zone from 7 yards out with 6:40 left in the third quarter.

Jefferson is off next week before beginning play in Region 8-AAA against cross-county rival Jackson County.

Commerce host Athens Academy next week.


Jefferson rolls past Commerce 28 - 3

The Athens Daily News

JEFFERSON ~ Lightning and Evan Shirreffs touchdown strikes streaked across the sky in the first half of Jefferson’s 28-3 win against Commerce on Friday.

The Dragons senior quarterback threw for three scores — two before and one after a 30-minute weather delay — to secure Jefferson’s seventh win in the last eight meetings with the rival Tigers.

Shirreffs finished 7-of-15 for 142 yards and added 13 rushing yards. “Evan did play well,” said coach Ben Hall . “We had drops early, but our hats off to Commerce, too. They played hard."

The Dragons (4-0) clinched the victory with a solid running game and punishing defense in the third quarter.

Commerce (2-1) managed only seven total yards and failed to convert a first down in the period. Jefferson’s Colby Wood reached the end zone on a short run for the game’s final score.

The Dragons have won the last two meetings in the rivalry, Friday marking the 69th installment, by a combined score of 68-3.

“This is a big rivalry and it’s something we can brag about,” said Dragons receiver Dalton Hill. “They beat us three years ago when we won state, so to win these last two years means a lot.”

Jefferson’s first-half offensive explosion erased a 3-0 deficit and essentially put the game out of reach by halftime.

The Tigers had early success on the ground, gaining five first downs and converting on three of their first four third-down tries. Four first-half penalties limited opportunities, like when Commerce was four yards from the end zone on the second drive of the game but had to settle for a field goal.

That’s when Shirreffs and the Dragons offense took off. The senior connected with tight end Hunter Gatlin on a six-yard pass to take a 7-3 lead. Then Hill turned a short pass over the middle into a 77-yard score on the next drive.

Play was halted with Commerce near midfield. The delay helped Jefferson regain the momentum, as the Dragons took the field to a raucous re-introduction and, led by linebacker Joseph Randolph, stopped the Tigers on fourth-and-short run two plays later.

A Shirreffs 15-yard pass to Rodney Carr gave the Dragons a 21-7 advantage.

Next up, Jefferson travels to region and area rival Jackson County after a week off.

Commerce hosts Athens Academy next week.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *


 GAINESVILLE | Jefferson, ranked No. 5 in Class AAA, improved to 3-0 on the season Friday with a 48-6 drubbing of North Hall at the Brickyard. In three games, the Dragons have tallied 139 points. ( 46.3 per game ).
Jefferson jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter as freshman Colby Wood scored on a 7-yard run. With 9:34 remaining, quarterback Evan Shirreffs hit T.J. Skelton on a 70-yard scoring strike.  With 7:31 left and Sammy Williams scored on a 2-yard run with 4:36 to go.
The Dragons’ final score of the first quarter came on a 54-yard pass from Shirreffs to Skelton.
After North Hall got on the board in the second quarter, Shirreffs and Skelton hooked up again, this time on a 6-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute to go before halftime.

In the second half, Wood rushed for another score, this one for 47 yards, with 8:46 remaining in the third quarter, and Gage Lawson tallied on a 1-yard run with about four minutes remaining in the game.
Shirreffs completed 10 of 13 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Skelton had 130 receiving yards and three touchdowns and Dalton hill had 94 receiving yards. On the ground, Wood rushed eight times for 91 yards and two touchdowns and Williams rushed four times for 46 yards and one score.
On defense, North Hall attempted three passes and all three were intercepted by Kendrick Robinson. Ian Callow recorded 12 tackles, Tradd Porter had 10 tackles, Johnny Paolozzi had 11 tackles and DeShaun Lester posted 10 tackles.
Jefferson will host longtime county rival Commerce at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   * 

Dragons survive Winder-Barrow flag-fest - win 41 - 7

WINDER — With the star-studded duo of TJ Skelton and Evan Shirreffs on the field for Jefferson, a productive and powerful offense was expected. What was not expected was how the Dragons used almost everybody but Skelton on their way to a 41-7 win over the Winder-Barrow Bulldoggs at W. Clair Harris Stadium in Winder.

“We threw the ball around early, but the way things were going and with the flow of the game, we felt like establishing the ground game was in our best interest,” year Jefferson coach Ben Hall said Friday night.

The Dragons (2-0) cranked out 348 yards on the ground, largely split between Sammy Williams and Colby Wood. Williams had 22 carries for 176 yards and two touchdowns while Wood carried 16 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

Shirreffs threw for 200 yards and a touchdown in his second game back from a season-ending injury in 2013. The senior quarterback threw just two interceptions all of last season, and he continued that impressive accuracy Friday with 14 completions on 20 attempts without an interception.

The Jefferson offense had its way against the Winder (0-1) defense, but with minimal impact from senior receiver Skelton. The returning All-State athlete picked up 44 yards receiving with just four catches. On the other hand, Dalton Hill caught six for 113 yards.

“Our receivers, when we’re in our pro personnel, we’re balanced on either side. We’ve got two great receivers ... who are interchangeable. I’m sure there’ll be games where TJ out produces Dalton. These guys aren’t selfish. They understand that,” Hall said.

“We’re hurting,” Winder-Barrow coach Heath Webb said. “We had some guys who were upset because they lost, and that’s a good sign for the program.”

The Bulldoggs had a couple of good chances to make the game interesting early as two drives stalled in the red zone, one a late second quarter drive that ended in a missed field goal from the Jefferson 12, wasting a 75-yard, six-play drive.

Shirreffs found Hill for a 47-yard completion at the close of the first quarter for Jefferson’s first touchdown. The Dragons went up 13-0 when Trent Sorrells found the end zone on a 3-yard plunge and Gage Lawson nailed the PAT.

The Bulldoggs scored late in the third quarter when Noah Chapman tossed a lateral to receiver Brandon Hayes, who found a wide open Bradyn Randall a yard deep in the end zone. The touchdown was set up by a Jefferson fumble deep in its own territory, recovered by Winder’s Drezdin Williams.

“That seemed like a moment where the game could turn in our favor, but we just couldn’t finish,” Webb said.

Defensively, Winder struggled mightily to hold Jefferson’s potent offense in the second half. The Dragons opened up their offense with three fourth quarter touchdowns, one with just about a minute to go as Wood trotted 89 yards on an end-around. 

Wood only got the chance because another Winder-Barrow drive stalled deep in the red zone late in the fourth quarter with the score still 34-7.

The Dragons were stalled on several occasions by penalties that either halted or pushed the team into long first-down yardage situations.  Jefferson had 16 penalties during the game while Winder-Barrow had only one ~  a five yard off-side penalty on the second half kickoff. 

Running back CeCe Green has been pegged as the workhorse of the new Winder-Barrow offense, but most all of his offensive production Friday came through the air. The junior had 71 yards receiving, but just 3 yards on the ground with eight attempts.

Jefferson’s senior-heavy defense had a lot to do with that, as Hall pointed out.

“When you have a talent like CeCe Green, it’s hard not to key on that guy,” Hall said.

“We should be good on defense. We had nine returning starters off last year’s team. We’re senior-laden and we have great leaders over there.”

The Winder-Barrow defense gave up a lot of yards, but Jeremy Ramsey’s 10 tackles for the Doggs stood out as a defensive gem.

“Our effort was great all night long. I never felt like there was a moment where we didn’t play hard or that we gave up. It was one of those deals where, at this moment, Jefferson was just better than us,” Webb said.

“We have to work here to raise the bar, and that’s what we’re doing. The positive here is effort. There are things here we need to fix, but the positive is effort.”

Both Winder-Barrow and Jefferson need to forget Friday’s landslide quickly as they move on to crucial early-season matchups. The Dragons visit North Hall, a team they lost to 41-34 last season.

Winder-Barrow gets its Region 8-AAAAA schedule started in just their second game by playing host to cross-county rival Apalachee.

“We’ve got to jump into the region schedule, so there’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Webb said. “We’ve got to go to work on Monday, and that’s what we’ll do.”

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


JEFFERSON – Jefferson’s season started off about as flawless as any team could hope for.

Senior wide receiver Dalton Hill caught four passes for 149 yards and a touchdown and added another score on the ground, and the Dragons cruised to a 50-14 victory over Rabun County on Friday at Memorial Stadium.

“I was proud of the guys,” Jefferson head coach Ben Hall said.

“Dalton Hill had a nice night as a receiver. (Quarterback) Evan (Shirreffs)threw the ball well and the line protected and the (running) backs ran hard. There were some fundamental errors you make Game 1, but as we tell the kids, we just have to continue to ‘sharpen the blade.”

Jefferson senior running back Sammy Williams carried the ball 20 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns, and freshman running back Colby Wood rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

Shirreffs passed for 220 yards and one touchdown.

The Dragons’ defense did its job, too, intercepting two Wildcats passes and recovering a fumble.

“They battled hard,” Hall said. “It was a hot night tonight and they played a fine football team.”

The Dragons received the opening kickoff that resulted in a punt, but the first series looked to knock whatever rust was leftover from summertime off the offense.

Williams put Jefferson up 7-0, slicing his way through the Wildcats defense on a 4-yard run with 7:02 left in the first quarter. The drive was catapulted by a 46-yard reception from Hill.

Senior defensive back Tradd Porter intercepted a Rabun County pass. This set up another Williams’ second touchdown as he found the end zone from eight yards away with 3:43 left in the first.

After a Gage Lawson field goal to open the second quarter, Jefferson senior Maverick McKinney forced a fumble deep in Rabun County territory, which the Dragons recovered.

Hill was the beneficiary of the fumble, scoring on a 5-yard end-around run to extend the Dragons’ lead to 24-0.
On the Dragons’ next possession, Shirreffs found Hill for a 65-yard touchdown and 31-0 lead.

The Wildcats’ offense finally found some magic, as quarterback Collin Grant found Charlie Wderner for a 19-yard touchdown with 3:40 left in the second quarter.

The Dragons’ defense redeemed themselves after Hill booted a 55-yard punt down to the Wildcats’ 1-yard line. On the first play of the series, Jefferson’s Cooper Young snagged the Wildcats runner before he could escape the end zone for a safety.

Lawson added his second field goal of the game, booting through a 28-yard field goal to give the Dragons a 36-7 at the end of the first half.

Wood added his two touchdowns on runs of one and 11 yards.

Rabun County’s Dawson Kendricks scored late on a 6-yard run.

Jefferson travels to Winder-Barrow High School next week, while Rabun County hosts Habersham Central High School.JEFFERSON -- The demise of the Jefferson offense may have been just a tad premature.

Evan Shirreffs, Sammy Williams, and Dalton Hill used the season-opener against rival Rabun County Friday night as their own personal showcase for Region 8-AAA.

The Dragons piled up 503 total yards, scored on five straight possessions in the first half, and ran away with a stunning 50-14 win at Memorial Stadium in a game many expected to be as close as last year’s overtime thriller between the two foes.

Even Jefferson coach Ben Hall admitted he was anxious to see how the new-look offense, sporting two new running backs, a quarterback coming back from injury, and a rebuilt line, would respond against a Wildcats team expected to challenge for the Region 8-AA title

“We had some changes and I liked what I saw from the offense early,” Hall said. “Even though we had a big second quarter [22 points], we made a lot of mistakes we won’t be able to make down the road. Overall I was pleased but we have plenty to work on.”

The Dragons defense was not to be outdone forcing three Rabun County turnovers and effectively shutting down preseason All-State selection Charlie Woerner, who was limited to just 79 yards receiving and one touchdown catch on four receptions.

“I feel we’re going to be pretty good on defense and they made some big plays,” Hall said. “I think the heat played a little factor for them because they had so many going both ways. But (Rabun’s) going to be a good team all year.”

Williams was the early star for the Dragons piling up 59 yards in the first half and scoring on consecutive possessions to give them a quick 14-0 lead less than nine minutes into the game.

Hill also had a huge first half catching, a 45-yard pass from Shirreffs to set up Williams first score and then adding a 7-yard TD run in the second quarter. He also contributed to a Dragons’ defensive safety, pinning Rabun County on its 1-yard line late in the half with a beautiful punt. Cooper Young tackled a Rabun ballcarrier in the end zone on the next play.

Hill then scored the Dragons final touchdown of the half on a 55-yard pass from Shireffs where he outraced a Rabun defender the final 30 yards.

“Dalton did have a good game,” Hall said about Hill’s first half. “That’s the kind of play we need all season from him.”

Jefferson's Gage Lawson also booted field goals of 18- and 28-yards in the first half.

Rabun County could not get untracked in the early going. The Wildcats had three punts and two turnovers in their first five possessions. Jefferson took advantage of both mistakes to build the quick lead.

Their first turnover came after Collin Grant connected with Woerner on a 48-yard pass to the Dragons 27. But Grant was picked off by Tradd Porter on the next play and it took just three plays for Jefferson to cash in on the takeaway.

The second Rabun turnover came after the Wildcats had stopped the Dragons at the 1 and held them to a Lawson field goal. But two plays later Jefferson's Maverick McKinney slammed into Grant, knocking the ball loose for Trent Sorrells to recover at the Rabun 8. Hill scored on the next play to make it 24-0.

The Wildcats lone bright spots came when they blocked a Hill punt and then Grant and Woerner connected for a 19-yard TD pass on the next play. Dawson Hendricks scored from 6-yards out with 3:04 left in the game for their other score.

                             *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Jefferson 50, Rabun Co. 14: Dragons leave little doubt in opener

From Ben Munro Of The Jackson Herald


                       *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Jefferson Opens Football Season With A 26 - 0 Scrimmage Win Over West Hall In Gainesville.

Gainesville Times

Jefferson and West Hall players finally got to hit someone other than their own teammates Thursday night, as they faced off in one of the area’s first scrimmages.

The Dragons came out ahead 26-0, but both teams made big plays while giving their coaching staffs plenty to chew on ahead of the regular season.

Here are a few highlights and the coaches’ observations from Thursday’s action:

Defenses force turnovers: Each team had four takeaways.

Jefferson coach Ben Hall said his defense’s effort was important with his group having a young offense. “We caused some turnovers,” Hall said. “We were able to capitalize on what the defense gave us. We’ve been counting on them to do that.”  He credited an “11 hats to the ball” mentality for the Dragons’ defensive effort, which limited West Hall to one first down in the first half.

The defensive highlights began with West Hall’s Ty Statham stripping the ball from a Jefferson runner on the Dragons’ third play from scrimmage.  Also in the first quarter, Jefferson’s Trent Sorrells had an interception and a 31-yard return to set up the contest’s first score.  The Dragons’ Kendrick Robinson returned the first of his two interceptions 30 yards for a touchdown with 10:28 left in the second quarter to push it to 13-0 in Jefferson’s favor.  On the ensuing drive, the Dragons’ Deshon Lester recovered another fumble as Jefferson took over just outside West Hall’s 10 after a personal foul penalty.

West Hall’s Jacob Miller had an interception late in the first half and added another on the opening possession of the third quarter. Miller returned his second pick inside the Jefferson 5, but much of that return was negated by a block in the back penalty.
Robinson’s second pick came in the third quarter.

The Spartans’ Andrew Lilly recovered a fumble as Jefferson was inside the Spartan 10 in the fourth quarter.

Strong test: West Hall coach Tony Lotti said he scheduled a state power like Jefferson to give his team a good barometer in its scrimmage.  “I wanted to see if some kids could play under the lights,” Lotti said. “Some of them did better than I thought they would.”  Lotti said Jefferson gave his team some defensive looks he was expecting, but he didn’t have his guys practice against those schemes. “I wanted to see if we could adapt on the run,” Lotti said.

The contest provided him with plenty of material against a program he said is one the Spartans want to emulate.

With his daughter’s rehearsal dinner tonight and her wedding Saturday, some of Lotti’s film-watching might even come from the back of a church, he said.

Special teams: Jefferson missed an extra point in the first half after two guys ran off the field who were supposed to be part of the play. “Those things are frustrating,” Hall said. “But that’s why you scrimmage.  ”Hall noted that the one missing aspect in Thursday’s scrimmage was live special teams play, as no defense was played against kicks or returns. That will be a point of emphasis in the Dragons’ upcoming practices.

Lotti, meanwhile, had his faith in West Hall’s kicking game confirmed. He said punter Anthony Lotti had averaged about 44 yards on seven first-half punts and had more strong kicks later in the scrimmage.

Defensive stand: West Hall’s defense stood tall after a fumble gave Jefferson a little more than 10 yards to drive. The Spartans held on fourth-and-inches at the 1 when Evan Shirreffs’ pass into the end zone fell incomplete in the second quarter.

Williams carries early load: Jefferson’s Sammy Williams carried the ball on five of the six plays on the lone offensive scoring drive of the first half.  Williams accounted for 25 rushing yards on the 23-yard drive, capped by his two-yard scoring run as Jefferson took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

Other big plays: Robinson broke to the edge for a 32-yard touchdown on a short pass from Dragon backup quarterback Lane Sorrow in the third quarter.

Jefferson’s Shirreffs connected with Dalton Hill for a 40-yard pass on a first-quarter drive that ended with a missed field goal.

The Dragons’ Colby Wood had a 23-yard run in the fourth quarter that reaped an extra 11 yards for a horse collar penalty that moved the ball to the West Hall 11. He then added a 37-yard run before scoring a touchdown on a one-yard run with 55.8 seconds left.

West Hall’s Cooper Adams broke off a 24-yard run in the game’s final minute.

The Dragons begin the regular season Aug. 22 by hosting Rabun County, while the Spartans open at Johnson on Aug. 29 in the Battle of Oakwood.

 HOME     I      SITE-MAP     I     CONTACT     I     PRIVACY     I    PHOTOS    I    SPONSORS     I    COMMUNICATIONS