Jefferson to host East Jackson in historic title game
No matter the outcome, Friday night will be a historic night for football in Jackson County.
That’s because two undefeated schools from within the county will face each other to determine who will be the region 8-AA champion for 2009.
After a 20-6 win over the North Oconee Titans last week, Jefferson will play host to the East Jackson Eagles on Friday to see who will be the region champion.
East Jackson is coming off a win as well, defeating Dawson County 41-0 Friday night.
It promises to be an exciting game, as both teams have worked hard to get to this point.
Jefferson, the defending region champs, has scored a total of 363 points this season, an average of 40.3 per game, while the Eagles have scored 334, a 37.1 per game average. The Dragons have allowed 109 points to be scored against them all year, a 12.1 per game average, while East Jackson has allowed 130 points to be scored against them, an average of 14.4 per game.
In their last meeting, Jefferson controlled the game, winning 48-0 in the rain at East Jackson.
Jefferson coach T. McFerrin said the game is important for a lot of reasons.
“It’s the chance for an undefeated season and the region championship and I guess bragging rights in Jackson County. Even though East Jackson is a relatively new school, I’m sure it’s already a rival game. There’re a lot of reasons.”
A big reason it’s important is that the winner will be the first seed in the playoffs, meaning they will first race the number four seed from the other region.
“I think the players obviously know (the importance),” McFerrin said. “There’s going to be a lot of excitement and a huge crowd. Plus it looks like the weather’s going to be good for a change.”
East Jackson coach Frank Caputo said the excitement is building for the game.
“I think our school and our community is very excited and enthusiastic about the game,” Caputo said. “I know the kids on both teams have probably been waiting for a long time to have this chance. I think as the week goes on, it will really ascend into a great football game for the fans and for the kids. This is written just perfectly.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Pre-sales on tickets will be available at Jefferson High School, Jefferson Middle School and East Jackson Comprehensive High School. Tickets will be available on Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. for $7, at Jefferson, with no discount available. Tickets at East Jackson will be on sale today (Wednesday) and Thursday from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
It didn’t take long for the Dragons to put themselves on the board Friday night.
During North Oconee’s first drive, Zach Allen caused a fumble, which was recovered by Chris Jackson. Jackson ran the ball back 45 yards to score Jefferson’s opening touchdown of the night. A successful PAT made it a 7-0 game with just over eight minutes left on the clock.
The Titans began to drive again on their next possession, but fumbled again with the Dragons recovering on the North Oconee 30-yard line with less than six minutes left in the first quarter.
It took just two plays for Jefferson to score again, as J.J. Damons scored on a 22-yard run. The successful extra point made it a 14-0 lead.
North Oconee got a break late in the first quarter when Jefferson fumbled, allowing the Titans to take possession on the Dragons’ 24-yard line.
The Titans then pushed their way down the field, finally breaking into the end zone with six seconds remaining on the clock. Jefferson was able to deny North Oconee the extra point, leaving the score 14-6 going into the second quarter.
Both teams’ defense held fast through the fleeting moments of the second quarter, and the score remained 14-6 at the half.
It was more of the same in the third quarter, as both teams fought for field position and to hold the other at bay. With time running out in the fourth quarter, Jefferson would score again, as Lucas Redd ran the ball in for a touchdown with less than a minute remaining. The extra point failed, leaving the score 20-6, where it would remain through the end of the game.
For more on this story, see Wednesday's edition of The Jackson Herald.