IT MIGHT have only been a dress rehearsal, but Jefferson’s veteran-laden defense looked every bit like a unit returning nine starters.
Scrimmaging at West Hall Thursday night, the Dragon defenders shutout the Spartans and even added a score of their own their own in a 26-0 win.
“The defense looked great,” Jefferson coach Ben Hall said. “The defense, they flew to the ball, 11 hats to the ball on most reps. That’s what we challenged them (to do) from the start of the spring.”
Senior cornerback Kendrick Robinson had a banner night, picking off two passes — including a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown. He also scored on a 32-yard screen pass on offense in the rout.
“We caused some turnovers … we were able to capitalize off what the defense gave us and we’ve been counting on them to play like that since we started the spring,” Hall said.
Offensively, Jefferson broke-in five new starting linemen Thursday night. Hall said he was proud of how that group performed in a game-like scenario.
“The first few series I thought we were getting a good push,” Hall said. “The running backs were running hard. (Then) I thought we got a little tired. We made some errors when they started stemming the fronts on us, but they’ll continue to get better with reps.”
Facing a Class AAA playoff team from last year, Jefferson got started with a two-yard touchdown run from Sammy Williams with 6:11 left in the first quarter. Then Robinson made his presence known, snagging a second-quarter interception and racing 30 yards to the end zone to give Jefferson a 13-0 lead.
“I just read the quarterback’s eyes,” Robinson said. “He was staring at the receiver, and I just went for it.”
Robinson struck again late in the third quarter when he got into the game on offense, catching a screen pass on third and long and taking it 32 yards for another Dragon score.
“I just learn from (receiver) T.J. (Skelton),” he said. “I’m his back-up. I just learn and see what he does, and I just saw a hole and I took it.”
Said Hall: “I’m proud of Kendrick for playing both sides of the ball tonight, and he’s good leader for us.”
Colby Wood capped the game with a one-yard touchdown with 55 seconds remaining in the game.
Hall said there’s plenty to correct from the scrimmage before Friday’s opener with Rabun County.
“We need to work on our overall crispness across the board on offense,” Hall said. “Defensively, I’m sure we made some errors. But when you play as hard as they did tonight — 11 hats to the football — good things happen. But when you go back and study the film, it’s never as good as it seems.”
The Dragons take on Rabun County next Friday (Aug. 22) at 7:30 p.m. at home.