Jefferson trounces no. 6 Washington-Wilkes behind suffocating defense, potent offense, kicking game
JEFFERSON players screamed “Our house!” after the final seconds ticked off Friday against Washington-Wilkes.
There, however, was little doubt whose residence this was after the Dragons administered a 31-0 thrashing of the visiting Tigers Friday night at Memorial Stadium. Click here for pictures.
“We were just showing them what Jefferson plays like,” said Dragon linebacker Kody McDonald, who explained that Washington-Wilkes had enjoyed a little pre-game celebration on the Jefferson “J” logo before kickoff. “I think they saw it.”
Jefferson (4-1, 2-0) dominated every phase of the game Friday night in its methodical trouncing of no. 6 Washington-Wilkes (5-1, 2-1) in a high-stakes Region 8-AA matchup.
“They came in saying that this school is all about wrestlers … You go up there and put 31 points on the board and they put zero,” Jefferson lineman Collin Anthony said. “It’s a really good feeling.”
The Dragons limited the Washington-Wilkes offense — averaging over 40 points a game — to just 136 total yards and five first downs. The Tigers crossed midfield just once.
McDonald and Wesley Simonton both led the Jefferson defense with 13 tackles each. McDonald finished with two sacks and Simonton had two tackles for loss.
“We have really great coaches, who gave a really great game plan and put us in the right position at the right time and we’re just executing perfectly,” McDonald said.
Meanwhile, Jefferson’s offense racked up 427 yards and 21 first downs as the Dragons rolled to their fourth consecutive win.
The Dragon offensive line paved the way for another 400-plus yard night.
“Up front, they (Washington-Wilkes) got blown off the ball — that’s what I can pretty much say,” Anthony said.
Jefferson also won the special teams battle overwhelmingly. Dragon placekicker-punter Chandler Schlutow was a perfect 4-of-4 on PATs, kicked a 31-yard field goal and booted several kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.
“It was a team effort,” McFerrin said. “The offense, the defense, the kicking game … It couldn’t have been more of a team effort.”
The coach pointed to the hours of preparation that went into game-planning for Washington-Wilkes.
“(Offensive coordinator) Ben Hall put in an awful lot of hours on film study,” McFerrin said. “(Defensive coordinator) Tom Parker — an awful lot of hours. The defensive staff broke down everything Sunday night. We had broken down stuff in our off-week. I think the off-week helped us. We worked for Greene County also, but in the off-week, we worked on them (Washington-Wilkes).”
Still, McFerrin, a 38-year head-coaching veteran, was almost at a loss for words at his team’s complete domination of a top 10 team that breezed through its schedule to this point.
“I’m in shock,” McFerrin said. “I’m in absolute shock.”
Jefferson quarterback Bryant Shirreffs had another huge night with 228 yards on 14-of-22 passing and a touchdown. He also added 54 rushing yards and two scores.
Shirreffs threw to six different receivers, with Isaiah Blake leading the way with 86 yards. Donnie Hatfield had 61 yards and a touchdown reception.
Sammy Williams led Jefferson with 88 yards rushing, including a 57-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Jefferson set the tone early by moving 72 yards on its opening drive for a touchdown. Shirreffs capped it off with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Donnie Hatfield.
On Washington-Wilkes’ ensuing possession, Kody McDonald blitzed and jarred the ball loose from Tiger quarterback Buck Robinson. Tyler Bowen recovered the loose pigskin on the Washington-Wilkes 29.
That set up Schlutow’s 31-yard field goal to give the Dragons a 10-0 lead eight and a half minutes into the game.
“That was probably the turning point right there,” McFerrin said of the opening sequence of events. “We got some confidence.”
Jefferson took a 17-0 second quarter lead with a one-yard score from Shirreffs. In the fourth quarter, Shirreffs added a two-yard score to push the lead to 24-0 with 11:54 left in the game. The rout was on when Williams broke loose down the left sideline for his 57-yard jaunt with 8:27 left in the game.
Jefferson spent the rest of the night enjoying a 31-point lead.
“We hyped them up so much this week thinking it was going to be our hardest game but I couldn’t have dreamed it,” McDonald said. “We put it to them.”
McFerrin called this the biggest win he’s had in his four years at Jefferson.
“For a team that’s ranked way above us, and had been ranked all year long, with what we’ve got with all our sophomores, it’s flabbergasting to me,” he said. “I’m almost speechless.”