Jefferson picked up a 55-point win over an overmatched opponent, but it wasn’t necessarily the most satisfying of victories for coach Gene Cathcart.
With the Dragons playing on a Thursday due to a referee shortage, Malaki Starks, Kolton Jones and Carter Stephenson ran for two touchdowns each, while Jordan Perry had a touchdown rushing and receiving as Jefferson (8-0, 4-0 Region 8-AAAA) trounced winless Chestatee 67-12. Penalties and mistakes took some luster off a nine-touchdown night, however.
“I think we were just a little lethargic and flat … we’ve got penalties, we’ve got stuff to correct and our coaches will,” Cathcart said.
Cathcart also gave Chestatee (0-8, 0-4 Region 8-AAAA) credit.
“We’ve got tremendous respect for (Chestatee coach) Shaun Conley, Ben Corley and all that staff,” Cathcart said. “They have an outstanding staff. Scheme-wise they do really, really good stuff. To their credit, they played hard tonight, and made some plays.”
But Jefferson, which scored the final 41 points of the game, made several more plays.
Jefferson rushed for 477 yards on just 47 carries and posted a new season-high for points. Kolton Jones ran for 100 yards on five carries, while Starks finished with 67 yards on six carries. Starks completed his only pass of the night, a 36-yard touchdown strike to wide-open Perry for the Dragons’ first score.
Jefferson raced out to a 20-0 lead after a quarter and built a 40-12 lead at the half.
Plenty of players saw action in the rout. Jefferson played three quarterbacks and went deep into the bench at other spots.
“That is good,” Cathcart said. “The JV finished with a big win last night, and they’ve had a great year, and some of those guys got quality time tonight as well as some older backups. So, that’s always good for morale. That’s always good this time of year.”
The Dragons started fast enough. Perry’s 36-yard touchdown reception got Jefferson rolling early, as did his interception at the Chestatee 20 on the War Eagles’ subsequent drive. Kolton Jones scored from 20 yards out on a sweep one play later, and Starks added an 18-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.
But the first half wasn’t always the prettiest for the Dragons, who gave up a 57-yard, second-quarter touchdown pass from Luke Bornhorst to Hunter Fouche. Chestatee later added a 7-yard touchdown run to end a drive aided by two Jefferson penalties that moved the War Eagles’ offense down to the Dragon 7.
Jefferson committed seven penalties for 82 yards.
But the Dragons had more than enough firepower to compensate for that.
After Chestatee scored on its long touchdown pass from Bornhorst to Fouche, Stephenson broke off a 40-yard touchdown run to increase the Dragons’ lead to 26-6. The War Eagles’ penalty-aided scoring drive cut the lead to 26-12 temporarily with 5:21 left in the half, but Jefferson added two scores before the halftime buzzer. Starks scored on a 1-yard keeper and Jones raced in from 32 yards out one play after an interception from Hunter Blayton.
Perry (11 yards), Kam Robinson (9 yards), Stephenson (2 yards) and Isaiah Copeland (2 yards) all scored in the second half to complete the rout.
“We came out in the second half and really cleaned things up,” Cathcart said. “We just weren’t playing very smart in the first half.”
Jefferson will move on to a game next week (Nov. 13) at North Oconee where the Dragons will attempt to clinch the region title — their third in five years.
“(North Oconee coach) Tyler (Aurandt) and those guys have done a great job … and we’ve got to go there, obviously, and they still have a lot to play for,” Cathcart said. “They can win a share of the region championship, and the No. 1 seed.
“We’re a little bit banged up. We’ll have to heal up a little bit, but we have an extra day to get some treatment,” Cathcart added.