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Dragons earn county bragging rights, 42-21
Jefferson tops Jackson County in schools first meeting in 25 years
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JEFFERSON — It had been 25 years since Jefferson and Jackson County faced off in football, but the Jefferson offense made sure that the third meeting between the two wouldn't be a memorable one.

What it became was a game that the Panthers (3-5, 1-4 8B-AA) and head coach Billy Kirk would like to forget as they fell 42-21 to the Dragons on Friday at Memorial Stadium.

Jefferson (4-4, 2-3) put up 303 yards of total offense in the first half, while the Dragons defense held the Panthers to just 88 total yards in the first two quarters of play.

Jefferson's Chris Jackson and Will Puckett led the way for the Dragons offense.

Jackson ran around, through and over the Panthers defense, racking up 103 yards in the first half, while Puckett had two touchdown receptions of 40 plus yards.

Dragons quarterback Bryant Shirreffs finished the game 11-of-18 passing for 210 yards and four touchdowns, two to Puckett and one each to Jackson and Cole Givens.

"I'm just proud of our players, because that loss last week was tough, and they came out ready to play tonight," said Jefferson head coach T. McFerrin in reference to last week's 51-7 loss at Elbert County.

With last week's loss, Jefferson found itself entering the game against the Panthers in unfamiliar territory, out of the playoff picture after winning two straight Region 8-AA titles.

With a win next week at home over East Jackson, Jefferson can lay claim to countywide dominance, and would have defeated all three county schools this season (Commerce, Jackson County and East Jackson).

"It's disappointing that we're out of the playoff hunt, but we are definitely looking forward to facing East Jackson next week for county bragging rights," said Dragons linebacker Kyle Mosley after the game.

After struggling on offense in the first half, Kirk made the change at quarterback for the Panthers, bringing in Kyle Daniel.

Daniel led the Panthers to three straight scoring drives in the second half, although the last two were against mostly second- and third-string players from Jefferson.

"Kyle came in and did a great job for us, getting us down there three times," Kirk said. "We were just trying to do anything we could to put points on the board."

Kirk also mentioned that he was proud of the way his team came out in the first half.

"We looked pretty bad in the first half," he said. "We missed a ton of tackles in the first half and that's the difference in the ballgame. Quite honestly, we did some good things defensively tonight, but we didn't do enough things defensively in the first half to win a football game."

"I was proud of the way our kids didn't lay down, they didn't give up and that says something."

Daniel finished the game 9-of-11 passing for 80 yards and an interception.

The Panthers will return home next week to face a tough test in Hart County.


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