After clearing a hurdle against one of the state’s best teams last week, Jefferson will contend with one of the strongest-armed quarterbacks in the region this Friday (Oct. 18).
The Dragons, coming off a 28-23 win over No. 5 Hart County, will host Morgan County, led by quarterback Trenton Folds. Folds, despite missing two games this season, has thrown for 832 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.
“We saw the incredible arm strength that he had last year,” Jefferson coach Gene Cathcart said. “He overthrew a ball and it hit their brick wall.”
The senior has passed for over 200 yards in a game twice this year. He also threw for three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ Oct. 4 win over Jackson County and three more last week (Oct. 11) in the team’s victory over Franklin County.
“He can throw it not only with great velocity and a long way,” Cathcart said, “but he’s also really improved on touch throws that he needs to make. So, he is a very talented and very large player, too.”
At 6-2, 200-pounds, Folds is a load to bring down, too.
“He’s able to buy himself time, and then the other thing is that the first pass rusher rarely brings him down,” Cathcart said.
Folds is often able to break free of the first rusher, extend plays and those plays essentially become scramble drills.
“He can throw it such a far distance, we’re really going to have to be disciplined in the secondary,” Cathcart said.
Folds is surrounded by weapons in the Bulldogs’ offense. Kobridgette Lumpkin has rushed for 529 yards and seven touchdowns on 79 carries. Quinton Proby has added 326 yards on the ground with three touchdowns on 71 carries. Folds’ top receiving targets are Seth Robertson, who has 360 yards and four touchdowns on 22 catches, and Jerrit Wyatt, who is averaging 20 yards per catch with 300 yards receiving and four touchdowns on 15 catches.
“Every year you play them, they have tremendous athletic ability,” Cathcart said, “and this year is no exception. They’ve got kids that can run. They’ve got a good mix of kids with size, also. It’s one of those places that’s always going to have talented football players.”
Morgan County is in its 13th season under coach Bill Malone, who owns a 76-59 record. He guided the Bulldogs to back-to-back region titles in 2016 and 2017. Cathcart praised the job that Malone has done in his decade plus at Morgan County.
“Bill Malone is a great guy and an outstanding coach,” he said.
This game pits the only remaining unbeaten teams in the region. Jefferson moved to 3-0 in 8-AAA play with its win over Hart County in a top-10 showdown last Friday (Oct. 11). Morgan County (6-1) beat winless Franklin County 35-16 last Friday. The Bulldogs have also defeated Region 8-AAA opponents Monroe Area and Jackson County.
Jefferson, which moved up to No. 9 in the Class AAA rankings, catches the region co-leaders after the Dragons secured their biggest victory of the year with their win over No. 5 Hart County. When asked about playing this week following such an emotional victory, Cathcart said this is a big game, too, which serves as motivation itself.
“There will be a lot on the line … If we’re mature enough and have the leadership like I think we do, distributed throughout all four grades, then they’ll maintain focus, and they’ll play very well and practice very well,” he said.
Cathcart added that big games “are infectious.”
“You get cured from one, and then you get the next one,” he said. “It’s a good problem to have though.”
Jefferson’s players of the week in its Oct. 11 win over Hart County were Jordan Perry (offense), Hunter Blayton (defense), Levin Jones (special teams) and Spencer Neese (scout team) … Cathcart noted that Jefferson’s Middle School team recently wrapped up a 7-1 season. “They had a great season, and we’re really excited about those guys,” he said. Cathcart also pointed out the junior varsity team is 6-0 with its season final ahead Thursday (Oct. 24) at home against Habersham Central … Though the Jefferson varsity football team pulled off its biggest win of the season thus far last week, Cathcart made note of recent success enjoyed by other Jefferson sports, praising the area-champion volleyball team, the Sweet-16 softball team and girls’ cross country team, which won a 19-team meet in metro Atlanta Saturday.