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Dragons make an 8-AA statement, top Fannin 41-6

Jefferson trounces defending region champ

POSTED: September 17, 2008 5:01 a.m.

JEFFERSON — After opening the season with impressive wins over its rival and in the region opener last week, Jefferson made an even bigger statement in its home opener against Region 8-AA defending champ Fannin County in a Week 3 showdown of two undefeated squads.

Three first-half fumbles by the Rebels, and a defensive stand in the shadow of their goal line helped the Dragons take control early on their way to a 41-6 victory.

"That goal line stand was the difference in the game," Dragons coach Bill Navas said. "Had we not made that play, this game might not be the same as it is right now. We took the game to them tonight and we were the hammer and not the nail."

Dragons linebacker Jay Fowler said playing intensely on both sides of the ball was a major factor.

"We just kept smashing them in the mouth and we knew that was what we needed to do to win the game," Fowler said. "I kept telling the defense when we were on the goal line, ‘Just bow your backs,’ and we did."

After fumbling on their first play of the game, the Dragons got into a groove, scoring on four of their next five possessions for a 27-0 halftime lead.

The Dragons shut down the Rebels rushing attack allowing 119 yards in the game, 69 of those coming on a late run by Josh Gaddy. Their lone touchdown by Drew Earley came when the game was out of reach.

On the Dragons second possession, the offense got into gear. Facing fourth and inches, the Dragons picked up the first down and two plays later quarterback Darius Minor scampered 74 yards for a touchdown. The run capped off a 9- play, 99-yard drive.

Minor finished with 204 total yards and three touchdowns.

A fumble by the Rebels on their next possession helped the Dragons push the lead to 14-0 when Lucas Redd scored from 1-yard out. Minor and Redd each scored again to close out the half.

Zac Crosby almost scored on a punt return for the second week in a row but was tackled inside the 10 after a 46-yard return midway through the third quarter. He still found his way in the end zone after catching a 6-yard pass from Minor two plays later.

Virgil Appleby capped off the night with a five-yard run as the Dragons improved to 3-0 and more importantly, remain unbeaten in Region 8-AA

"Offensively we really wanted to be balanced and wanted to match their toughness," Dragons offensive coordinator Isaiah Taulbee said. "We don’t want anybody pushing us around and we wanted to make sure we came out and established the run while keeping our balance and using our athletes. I felt like speed was a big difference tonight. "



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