JEFFERSON — Jefferson’s campaign for back-to-back Region 8-AAA titles rolled on with a 17-0 win over Morgan County on Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
The Dragons scored on their first three possessions and let their defense handle the rest.
“We were able to get a lead in the first half and we established the running game. We were able to hit them on play action and kept them guessing on formations,” Jefferson head coach Ben Hall said. “Then we got too vanilla in the second half and had some mental errors by a few of our players.”
“Our defense played another stellar ballgame and shutout a very talented team.”
Jefferson (7-0, 3-0) opened with game with a fury of passes, four straight completions to move the ball from its 35-yard line to the Bulldogs’ 29. A 28-yard run by Colby Wood put the Dragons at the 1, and three plays later, Wood scored to give the Dragons a 7-0 lead.
Morgan County (3-3, 1-1) moved the ball well on its first drive but a fumble ended its scoring hopes abruptly. Jefferson held the ball for the last half of the first quarter, and another 1-yard run by Wood capped off a 14-play, 66-yard drive a minute into the second quarter.
A three-and-out for the Dragons defense and a net 2-yard punt placed Jefferson at the Morgan 25-yard line. However a holding penalty and an 8-yard loss on a sack forced Jefferson to settle for a 34-yard field goal and a 17-0 lead.
Another three-and-out gave Jefferson prime real estate at the Bulldogs 41-yard line. The Dragons drove to the 5 before stalling, and a 22-yard field goal try was foiled by a bad snap.
Morgan made a run at Jefferson’s lead early in the second half. Its first possession lasted 16 plays and 55 yards before an incomplete pass on fourth down turned the ball over to Jefferson.
Early in the fourth quarter, Morgan moved from its 45 line to the Dragons’ 16, but their scoring hopes were dashed when Zack Boobas intercepted a pass in the end zone.
“I think everyone was tired and taking it easy on that drive at first, but we needed to step up because there is no way we are letting them score on us,” Boobas said. “Someone had to make a big play and it just happened to be me.”
Wood responded on the following play with a 50-yard run, his last carry of the game to give him 146 yards.
The Bulldogs had one last chance to score but an interception by Alex Mason in the end zone preserved the shutout for the Dragons.
Jefferson held Morgan County’s convoy of four running backs to only 126 yards on 27 carries. Trey Chapman had 44 yards, Malik Chapman and Richard Brooks had 39 each and Sam Couch had only 5 yards.
“They do have talented players, but our defense has been playing great all year,” Hall said. “They’re leading the charge for us while we try to find our rhythm offensively and our rhythm seems to be different every week.”
Jefferson brings a winning streak and region title defense to county rival East Jackson next Friday night.