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Lovett ends Jefferson's perfect run
Dragons suffer first loss of season in state playoffs, 34-24
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Jefferson's Justin Daniel pushes ahead for yardage against a trio of Lovett defenders during Friday's second-round Class AA state playoff game at Jefferson Memorial Stadium. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

JEFFERSON — The Jefferson and Lovett offensive units were about as hot as it was cold Friday night, combining for 58 points and 830 yards in the second round of the Class AA playoffs at Jefferson Memorial Stadium.But the Lions’ offense was a bit hotter and their defense and special teams a little stronger as they outscored the Lions 13-7 in the second half for a 34-24 victory.

The loss was the first of the season for the Dragons and ends their season at 11-1.

"This was a situation where we played a good football team and you have to play as good as you can," Jefferson coach Bill Navas said. "I think our kids played hard and executed relatively well."

After Lovett scored to reclaim the lead in the fourth quarter, coach Mike Muschamp called for an onside kick that his team recovered at the Dragons’ 48-yard line.

The Lions score on the drive when Zack Boden ran in from the 5, increasing the lead to 10 points.

"It wasn’t as if our kids didn’t play it well," Navas said. "He just kicked it (the onside kick) perfectly. Our kid tried to get to it and couldn’t get to it."

Boden was virtually unstoppable, rushing for 197 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns, including two in the final quarter.

"They’re a talented football team, and they have a lot of weapons on offense," Navas said. "We knew they were going to be tough to stop. We felt like if we could score with them we could stay in the game."

Darius Minor did all he could to help the Dragons, throwing for three touchdowns and 219 yards along with 67 yards rushing.

"I thought we were playing good," Minor said. "We just didn’t get the win in the end."

Zac Crosby was the recipient of two of his touchdown passes, both in the second quarter, to keep the Dragons in the game early on.

The Dragons had taken the lead midway through the third quarter when Hoytez Damons caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from Minor for a 24-21 lead. The sophomore finished with six catches for 125 yards.

The Dragons trailed by four points at halftime after Jonathan Carkuff connected with Drew Stockton for a 7-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds on the clock.

The Dragons’ first possession began at the 36-yard line after linebacker Patrick Allen broke into the backfield to make a tackle for loss on fourth down.

The Dragons, facing a fourth down of their own, took a fake punt snap and rumbled down to the Lions 25-yard line.

Damons picked up 24 yards and a first down on Minor’s third completion of the game at the 1.

But the drive stalled following a holding penalty, and the Dragons settled for a 24-yard field goal by Lucas Redd with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter.

"We wanted to make sure that we didn’t turn the ball over in the game," Muschamp said. "They’re well-coached and they play hard. We’re just glad to get out of here with the win."

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