The Jefferson High School Dragons (2-0; 1-0) invaded Tiger Stadium on Friday night and came away with a 19-0 shutout over Dawson County (1-1; 0-1) as both teams opened Region 8-AA play.
The Tiger offense was non-existent, while Jefferson’s offense pretty much did what it wanted in the game.
The game was marred by penalties. Jefferson was flagged 19 times for 225 yards in the game. Dawson also had six penalties for 80 yards in a game that lasted almost two and a half hours.
“We just didn’t show up,” a dejected Dawson County Coach Jeff Lee said after the game.
“Our kids just didn’t play like I thought they would,” he added.
Jefferson opened the scoring with 6:29 left in the first quarter on a 70-yard punt return by Zach Crosby.
On the play it looked like the Tiger punt team had Crosby surrounded, but Crosby broke four tackles on the way to the end zone.
“Poor tackling. We pride ourselves on special teams play and today we just stunk it up,” Lee said about the play.
The extra point by Jefferson’s Lucas Redd was wide left and the Dragons held a slim 6-0 lead.
On the next possession by Dawson’s offense, the unit stalled after only three plays.
Senior Tiger punter David Scully, who punted five times for a 31.6 average, kicked a short punt of 27 yards, which allowed Jefferson to set up shop on its own 43-yard line.
Jefferson’s offense dissected the Tiger defense.
On the first play from scrimmage ,quarterback Darius Minor connected on a pass to Tab Martin for 23 yards.
Long runs by Crosby of 10 and 17 yards put the ball at Dawson’s 7-yard line.
Minor took the snap and raced the final 7 yards as Jefferson jumped out to a 12-0 lead with 2:47 remaining in the first quarter.
Tiger linebacker Stephen King made a great play to break up the 2-point conversion. King knocked down a pass attempt by Minor to keep the score at 12-0.
King also had a sack and fumble recovery later in the contest.
The Tigers tried to put a drive together with 4:47 remaining before halftime. Dawson quarterback Chase Gilreath hooked up with receivers TJ Byrd, 11 yards, and Justin Wende, 9 yards, to take the ball down to the Dragon 42-yard line.
The offensive push came to an end when Gilreath couldn’t find an open receiver on four straight passes, ultimately turning the ball over to the Dragons.
Wende was injured later in the game trying to catch a ball from quarterback Ethan Brown. His status was not clear as of press time.
Minor and the Dragons threatened again just before halftime.
Tiger Cody Tobias ended the drive with an interception at the 10-yard line.
Tobias returned the ball to Dawson’s 36-yard line with only 8 seconds remaining.
The Tigers moved the ball down to the Dragon 30-yard line, before Scully entered the game with only 0.4 seconds remaining for a 47-yard field goal attempt.
Scully’s kick was just a little short as the halftime buzzer sounded.
On Dawson’s first possession of the second half, Gilreath dropped back to pass on 3rd and 8 from his own 45-yard line.
The pass was tipped and picked off by a Jefferson linebacker.
The Dragons needed only nine plays to find the end zone. Minor took a direct snap from center and raced 5 yards into the end zone for the 6 points.
The extra point was good by kicker Josh Flowers and Jefferson held a commanding 19-0 lead with 6:26 left in the third quarter.
“Offensively we had the same problems we had last week,” said Lee.
“Our offensive line failed on some of their assignments at times and it hurt us. Our receivers dropped some catchable balls. I thought our quarterbacks were solid, but remember both of them are still learning.
“Our scheme was good both offensively and defensively. We just didn’t execute,” he added.
Minor finished the game with 15 carries for 102 yards.
He was also 16 for 27 passing for 120 yards. Minor found many different receivers in the contest.
Jeffeson’s Virgil Appleby rushed 14 times for 76 yards.
For Dawson County, quarterback Gilreath was 6 for 20 for 54 yards passing. Tiger running back Cody Tobias rushed 10 times for only 21 yards.
The Tigers only managed 23 total yards of offense in the game.
Next week, Dawson will travel to Homer for a match-up with the Banks County Leopards.
Banks County is currently 0-2 with losses to Washington-Wilkes, 39-14, and region opponent Riverside Military Academy, 56-28.
“This will be a big game next week for us and for Banks,” Lee said.
“I think if you ask any of the region coaches, no one will go through the regular season undefeated. One or two losses could still get you in the top four. We have to play well and win this game to put ourselves in that situation,” he added.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
E-mail Pam Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.