0920navasAUDJefferson coach Bill Navas discusses his team's 48-20 win against Oglethorpe County on Friday in Jefferson, improving them to 4-0 on the season.
0920applebyAUDJefferson running back Virgil Appleby discusses his four-touchdown performance against Oglethorpe County on Friday night in Jefferson.
JEFFERSON — The Jefferson High football team is new to Region 8-AA, but its new opponents haven’t thrown it off its game yet.
The Dragons remained undefeated with a 48-20 win against Oglethorpe County on Friday night in Jefferson.
Junior quarterback Darius Minor completed nine passes on 14 attempts for 124 yards and three touchdowns for the Dragons (4-0, 3-0 Region 8-AA), despite playing only the first half. He also rushed for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Virgil Appleby also had a productive game for Jefferson, rushing for 84 yards on eight attempts for three touchdowns. He also had one receiving touchdown.
Tab Martin led all Dragon receivers with 54 yards on four receptions.
“We’ve been stressing all week about handling success,” Jefferson coach Bill Navas said. “We responded well, and I’m not surprised by it. The kids work hard.”
The Dragons’ defense, which entered the game with 20 points allowed this season, allowed only 180 total yards, including only 79 rushing.
“We’re not the biggest team in the region, but we can control how hard we play,” Navas said. “We want to be hardest-hitting, fastest team in 8-AA, and the kids have bought into it.”
Despite lopsided offensive numbers, both teams suffered through penalty issues, combining for 19 penalties and 140 yards.
“We did some stupid things,” Navas said. “We block from behind too much.”
Jefferson didn’t waste time putting points on the scoreboard, finding the end zone at the end of a three-first down opening drive that ended with Appleby’s 1-yard touchdown run.
The Dragons scored again in the closing minutes of the first quarter when Minor connected with Zac Crosby for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
The second period was a productive one for the Dragons as they scored five times, including two rushing touchdowns from Appleby and two touchdown passes from Minor.
Appleby opened the quarter with a 36-yard touchdown run, then scored another 19-yard rushing touchdown two minutes later to give the Dragons a 26-0 lead.
Appleby found the end zone again three minutes later, this time on a 10-yard pass from Minor.
“We knew they could be beaten,” Appleby said. “That was our best first half this season.”
Minor added another touchdown pass on the night when he connected with Chris Swancey for a 31-yard touchdown, giving the Dragons a 39-point lead.
Jefferson scored its final touchdown of the first half when a bad snap sailed over Oglethorpe County quarterback A.J. Perlotte’s head on the Patriots’ 17-yard line. Perlotte recovered the ball, but fumbled it on the goal line. It was recovered by Derek Milsap, who dove into the end zone to score another touchdown for the Dragons.
Oglethorpe County scored its only touchdown of the half when Ranquavius Jones broke open for a 34-yard touchdown run with 39 seconds left in the half.
Jefferson countered on the next drive when Minor scrambled and found open field to score a 74-yard touchdown with nine seconds left, but a flag was thrown and the touchdown was not allowed, ending the half with the Dragons leading 46-7.
“The benefits of this offense is that opponents have to defend the entire field,” Navas said.
Jefferson’s junior varsity saw the majority of the second half action, but still managed to keep Oglethorpe County from making a comeback, and scored on a safety late in the third quarter.
The Patriots scored their second touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter when Perlotte found Octavious Hull open down field for a 77-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 48-13 after the PAT attempt was blocked.
Oglethorpe scored again late in the fourth quarter after Perlotte ran for a 14-yard touchdown following a fumble recovery by Orlando Cunningham, trimming Jefferson’s lead to 28.
Jefferson looks to stay undefeated when it visits Union County at 7:30 p.m. next Friday.
“Union is going to be tough to beat,” Navas said. “Week 5 is the most important week of the season.”