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Elbert County defense stifles Jefferson, 14-0
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JEFFERSON — While it may have not answered the age-old sports question for good, Elbert County won the most recent chapter of what happens when a dominant offense meets a dominant defense.

The Blue Devils (7-0, 4-0 Region 8B-AA) held Jefferson to just 10 offensive yards in the first half and only 114 for the game to win the Region 8B-AA battle 14-0 Friday night at Memorial Stadium in Jefferson.

"They've got a great defense and our players played hard and I think they did probably the best they can play," said Jefferson head coach T. McFerrin, who lost to the school where he made a name for himself and won a state title in the early and mid-1990s.

The key moments of the game came at the very beginning and in the last few minutes of the game for Jefferson.

The Dragons (5-2, 2-2) went with an onside kick to start off the game, but were unable to come up with the ball, setting up Elbert with good field position, which became a recurring theme for the Blue Devils the entire night.

"It was a good kick and we had three people around the ball, but we just couldn't recover it," said McFerrin.

Starting their first possession on the on their own 47-yard-line, the Blue Devils appeared to be in position to put up some quick points after a 37-yard run by junior Tyshon Dye. But the Dragons' defense came up big, forcing a stop on fourth and goal from the two.

That put Jefferson with long field to work with however, and forced a three-and-out punt. With good field position once again, Elbert used its Wing-T formation to put together a drive that was capped off by a 6-yard quarterback keeper by Hunter Blackmon with just over a minute to go in the first quarter.

That proved to be the only points scored in the next 36 minutes of the game, as both defenses put up stop after stop, with Jefferson getting key third- and forth-and-short stops when given a short field and Jefferson struggling in every phase offensively, especially in the first half.

Jefferson only managed one first down in the first half, which came with 11 seconds to play in the second quarter.

The Dragons looked to have new life in the third quarter, when sophomore Tristen Jackson picked up several first downs on Jefferson's opening drive, however Jefferson couldn't capitalize when given chances.

"We saw some things at halftime that we adjusted to and that helped us but we just weren't consistent," McFerrin said.

Jackson carried the ball 18 times for 64 yards, 53 in the second half. Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs was shut down by an athletic Elbert defense for the second straight year, completing only 3-of-24 passes for 35 yards and an interception.

Jefferson had its best chance at tying the game late in the fourth when Elbert fumbled the ball on their own 30-yard-line and Kevin Selleck recovered for the Dragons.

However, Jefferson's drive stalled once again, as they turned the ball over on downs. That led to a 54-yard touchdown run by Blackmon on a QB keeper misdirection that took the Dragons; defense off guard.

Dye, who has gained notice from several Division I schools including Georgia and Clemson, was contained well for the most part by the Jefferson defense. He finished with 98 yards, most of which came from the 37-yarder and a 35-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Elbert finished with 262 yards on the ground and over 300 yards of total offense.

Jefferson will look to rebound next week as they make the short trip across town to struggling Jackson County.

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