JEFFERSON – Jefferson’s season started off about as flawless as any team could hope for.
Senior wide receiver Dalton Hill caught four passes for 149 yards and a touchdown and added another score on the ground, and the Dragons cruised to a 50-14 victory over Rabun County on Friday at Memorial Stadium.
“I was proud of the guys,” Jefferson head coach Ben Hall said.
“Dalton Hill had a nice night as a receiver. (Quarterback) Evan (Shirreffs)threw the ball well and the line protected and the (running) backs ran hard. There were some fundamental errors you make Game 1, but as we tell the kids, we just have to continue to ‘sharpen the blade.”
Jefferson senior running back Sammy Williams carried the ball 20 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns, and freshman running back Colby Wood rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Shirreffs passed for 220 yards and one touchdown.
The Dragons’ defense did its job, too, intercepting two Wildcats passes and recovering a fumble.
“They battled hard,” Hall said. “It was a hot night tonight and they played a fine football team.”
The Dragons received the opening kickoff that resulted in a punt, but the first series looked to knock whatever rust was leftover from summertime off the offense.
Williams put Jefferson up 7-0, slicing his way through the Wildcats defense on a 4-yard run with 7:02 left in the first quarter. The drive was catapulted by a 46-yard reception from Hill.
Senior defensive back Tradd Porter intercepted a Rabun County pass. This set up another Williams’ second touchdown as he found the end zone from eight yards away with 3:43 left in the first.
After a Gage Lawson field goal to open the second quarter, Jefferson senior Maverick McKinney forced a fumble deep in Rabun County territory, which the Dragons recovered.
Hill was the beneficiary of the fumble, scoring on a 5-yard end-around run to extend the Dragons’ lead to 24-0.
On the Dragons’ next possession, Shirreffs found Hill for a 65-yard touchdown and 31-0 lead.
The Wildcats’ offense finally found some magic, as quarterback Collin Grant found Charlie Wderner for a 19-yard touchdown with 3:40 left in the second quarter.
The Dragons’ defense redeemed themselves after Hill booted a 55-yard punt down to the Wildcats’ 1-yard line. On the first play of the series, Jefferson’s Cooper Young snagged the Wildcats runner before he could escape the end zone for a safety.
Lawson added his second field goal of the game, booting through a 28-yard field goal to give the Dragons a 36-7 at the end of the first half.
Wood added his two touchdowns on runs of one and 11 yards.
Rabun County’s Dawson Kendricks scored late on a 6-yard run.
Jefferson travels to Winder-Barrow High School next week, while Rabun County hosts Habersham Central High School.