JEFFERSON — Lucas Redd typifies what is right with the Jefferson offense this season. Redd, a fullback for the eighth-ranked Dragons (4-0, 3-0 Region 8-AA), has seven touchdowns this season, which is pretty accomplished for a blocking back.
However, Redd found a way to switch it up a little and took a kick off from Oglethorpe County last Friday for a 90-yard touchdown.
His kick return for a score followed right on the heels of a 34-yard touchdown run against the Patriots, just one week after scoring three touchdowns against Fannin County.
The touchdowns are starting to add up quickly for Jefferson.
The Dragons put 54 on the board against the Patriots, and 42 the week before against the Rebels. Jefferson’s first 50-point effort this season was in a 56-16 win against Dawson County on Sept. 4, and the Dragons are averaging 45.5 points per game in the first four weeks of the season.
“I’ve never had a team that averaged 45 points per game,” said first-year Jefferson coach T. McFerrin, a 31-year coaching veteran.
The reason that the Dragons are scoring so many points goes back to the fact that they have so many playmakers. Running backs Redd (242 yards, four rushing TDs), J.J. Damons (146 yards, three TDs) and Caleb Meek (198, two touchdowns) are the primary options on the ground for senior quarterback Darius Minor (414 passing yards, 163 rushing) to utilize.
Despite the fact that the Dragons had the ball for only eight offensive plays in the second half against Oglethorpe County, Damons and Redd still accounted for six of their eight touchdowns on the night.
Zach Allen was emerging as a strong option in the backfield after rushing for 101 yards in the season opener against Commerce, but was lost the next week with a broken leg against Dawson County.
Jefferson has also shown it can still move the ball through the air, despite graduating receivers Zac Crosby and Tab Martin from last year’s Region 8-AA championship squad at Jefferson. This season, J.J. Damons (113 yards, three TDs) and tight end Hoytes Damons (110 yards, TD) are the primary playmakers.
Oh yeah, the Dragons also really like returning punts too. Jefferson scored touchdowns on four consecutive plays, including a pair of punt returns, in the Dawson County game.
“We got a great group of guys on this team,” Redd said. “We’re still working our way up and I still don’t think we’re at our full potential yet.”
The offensive success also sits well with an offensive line group that graduated three starters from last year’s group. Tackles Kyle Mosley and Kevin Selleck, guards Sam Loggins and Cody Berryman, and center Austin Przybysz are the main links from this offensive line that averages only about 220 pounds a man.
“I feel like we’ve beat our own expectations for how many points we would score,” said Przybysz, a senior. “We have a great group of coaches in place and everyone is working well together.”
McFerrin’s philosophy when he came out of retirement and took the coaching post at Jefferson was to make his offense into one that was tough to defend, as well as tough to predict how they would align. When the Dragons come to the line it could be in an I-formation, shotgun or full-tilt spread formation.
“When we say we have a multiple offense, that’s really what we’re trying to do.”
To make his offense truly multiple, he tried to identify the individual strengths of players upon arrival. He admits it wasn’t always a smooth assimilation with players in new roles in a different offensive scheme.
Meek has emerged as a starter in the running game after playing as a starting defensive back last year, and J.J. Damons didn’t play at the varsity level until this season.
Another major move for the linemen was to transition from a two-point stance to where they now play with a hand on the ground. Of course, the Dragons’ coach didn’t want to abandon elements of the offense from last year that would lend itself toward success this season.
“Our whole philosophy all along has been to play to our strengths and do what we do best,” McFerrin said.
If that’s the plan, it seems to have taken hold.