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Football Player of the Week: Bryant Shirreffs

POSTED: August 30, 2011 12:12 a.m.

Jefferson coach T. McFerrin believes in tailoring his offense to fit his team’s talents. No wonder, then, that the Dragons have come out passing more in 2011.

Aside from a talented corps of receivers, Jefferson (1-0, 0-0 8-AA South) is led by junior quarterback Bryant Shirreffs. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior passed for almost 1,400 yards last season and opened his second season as  the Dragons starter with a bang Friday night, accounting for more touchdowns than incompletions in the Dragons’ 41-14 win over Commerce. He finished 11 of 14 for 244 yards and two touchdowns through the air and added 38 yards and two more scores rushing. 

For his efforts, Shirreffs is The Times Football Player of the Week. 

“It was a great game, overall,” Shirreffs said. “I think all the facets of our team were kind of clicking. Offensively, we saw a lot of production, and defensively, we did very well.”

McFerrin said prior to the season that he planned to pass more this season; a decision partially affected by the loss of last year’s leading rushers, but also allowed by the presence of a veteran quarterback and receiver corps.

“For a lot of reasons, we thought that the strength of the offense might be the passing game,” McFerrin said. “You try to evaluate your team every year, and I think the smart thing is to let them do what they do best and not try to force them into anything just because that’s your offense. So we’ve been flexible enough to maybe expand the passing game a little bit.”

Shirreffs and the Dragons rewarded that decision against Commerce. Shirreffs opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and gave the Dragons a 14-7 lead with another 1-yarder in the second quarter. 

His next two touchdowns came through the air and took just over a minute of game time. With nine seconds left in the first half, Shirreffs connected with Will Puckett on a 23-yard score. Then in the first minute of the second half, he hit Drequn Sewell with a screen pass that the running back turned into a 76-yard touchdown, giving the Dragons a three-touchdown cushion. 

Shirreffs said after a year under center and summer’s worth of 7-on-7 drills, “the timing is down,” with his receivers.

“It took a couple of games last year to get into the swing of things,” Shirreffs said. “But this year, we’ve opened it up and started passing more, and I’m feeling pretty relaxed back in the pocket.”

The Dragons now turn their attention to North Hall and tuning up for the subregion season. The Trojans (0-0) visit Jefferson on Friday, followed by a trip to Dawson County for the Dragons. Play begins in 8-AA South with a visit from Hart County on Sept. 16.


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