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North Oconee keeps McFerrin stuck on 299 wins
Jefferson suffers firt loss of season, 38-28
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JEFFERSON — Penalities and turnovers plagued the subregion opener for Jefferson and North Oconee on Friday night, so it came down to who could capitalize.

North Oconee defeated the Dragons 38-28, keeping Jefferson coach T. McFerrin sitting on 299 wins in his Georgia high school football career.

North Oconee (5-0, 1-0 8-AA South) was led by freshman running back Kawon Bryant, who rushed for a game high 184 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns.

Jefferson quarterback junior Bryant Shirreffs led the Dragons with 227 yards passing and four touchdowns. However, the North Oconee defense was able to sack Shirreffs three times and forced three fumbles.

“We haven’t had a turnover in four games and look at how many we had tonight,” McFerrin said. “You can’t give a good team touchdowns and that’s what we did tonight.”

Jefferson (4-1, 0-1) received the opening kickoff and three plays later they saw a fumbled snap returned 19 yards by North Oconee’s Bryant for a touchdown.

Jefferson wouldn’t settle. The Dragons marched downfield on the next possession and tied the game when Shirreffs connected with sophomore tight end Donnie Hatfield on a 12-yard touchdown pass.

After a North Oconee turnover, Shirreffs capitalized by connecting with senior wide receiver Will Puckett on a 9-yard touchdown pass. The score gave Jefferson the lead at 14-7 with 6:39 left in the first half.

North Oconee’s offense got a spark when Bryant broke a 49-yard run late in the second quarter. Two plays later, he ran in a 5-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14 with 4:01 left in the half.

After forcing a Jefferson punt, North Oconee struck again, but this time through the air. Senior quarterback Blake Gaubert found junior Nick Colvin on a 20-yard touchdown pass, putting North Oconee up 21-14 at the half.

The two scores at halftime began the start of a North Oconee 28-7 run through the third quarter. Colvin, who split time with Gaubert at quarterback, ran for an 18-yard touchdown run with 10:09 left in the third quarter. Their next touchdown came off a David Pinkerton 1-yard run.

“We had a chance. Give them credit, they’ve got a fine football team,” McFerrin said.

Shirreffs came back with his third touchdown pass of the game to Puckett. The two hooked up one more time in the fourth quarter giving Puckett three touchdown catches on the night.

North Oconee put the game away with a Cody Clark 33-yard field goal with 4:53 left in the game.

“I thought everyone rose to the occasion,” North Oconee head coach Terry Tuley said. “They (North Oconee) knew we were in for a fight and knew Jefferson had a fine football team.”

Jefferson travels to Oglethorpe County next week, while North Oconee hosts Jackson County.

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