JEFFERSON has reeled off three region wins — all routs — in running to the top of the Region 8-AA football standings.
The Dragons (5-1, 3-0) aim to maintain that intensity level.
“We’ve just got to play with passion like we have been and recognize that we have a position to win the region if we can win out,” Jefferson quarterback Bryant Shirreffs said. “So I think that should be the motivator.”
Jefferson, in search of its first region title since 2009, takes on Oglethorpe County (4-2, 2-1) Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium as the Dragons have four region games remaining. Jefferson has torched its region opponents by a cumulative 148-33 margin so far.
Last week, Jefferson coaches warned against a letdown following a 31-0 trouncing of no. 6 Washington-Wilkes Oct. 5. The Dragons responded by scoring 42 points in the second half Friday in a runaway 55-7 win over Rabun County.
Jefferson players can expect to hear the “no letdown” mantra again this week.
“The code phrase last week was no letdown,” McFerrin said. “We’re going to have to say that again this week. We have to treat each game like it’s the most important game of the season because it is.”
Jefferson faces an Oglethorpe County team coming off a 49-21 win over Social Circle. The Patriots have won four of their last five and are tied for third in Region 8-AA.
Oglethorpe County runs a triple option offense — the double slot — similar to Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern.
The Patriots present a dangerous weapon at the helm of their triple option attack, quarterback Kendrick Presley.
“Their quarterback is really something; He may be the best running quarterback we’ve seen,” said McFerrin, who pointed out that his Dragons also faced strong running quarterbacks against Commerce and Greene County.
In addition to Presley, Oglethorpe County is loaded with speed at the skill positions and have bigger linemen this year than in year’s past.
“This is the best Oglethorpe County team I’ve seen in my four years here,” McFerrin said. “They’ve got threats all over.”
Oglethorpe County shows multiple looks on defense, using lots of formations.
“That’s what’s driving me crazy,” McFerrin said. “We don’t know exactly what defense they’re going to be in.”
Jefferson, however, has been on a roll lately.
Against Rabun County, the Dragons were able to run exclusively in the second half when the Wildcats keyed on stopping the pass.
Jefferson finished with 355 yards on the ground.
Quarterback Byrant Shirreffs ran wild with 152 yards and three touchdowns. Sammy Watkins added 81 yards and a score.
Defensively, the Dragons continue to improve.
Jefferson forced five turnovers and produced two defensive scores against Rabun County. Tyler Bowen had an outstanding night with five tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two sacks.
Jefferson has only surrendered seven points in the last two games and just 13 points per game this season.
With both the offense and defense in sync, the Dragons have now won five in a row since dropping their opener to Commerce.
“Obviously, we’re not the same team we were at the first of the year,” McFerrin said. “We’ve gotten better each week.”