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Lamar Co.-Jefferson preview

Now that you’ve eaten your fill, its time to get down to serious business – Lamar County playoff football. Here is Kenny Green’s preview of Lamar County’s quarterfinal matchup with the Jefferson Dragons’¦ Lamar County (12-0) will host defending state champion Jefferson this week in the quarterfinal round of the GHSA Class AA state playoffs. The Dragons are 10-2 and the #2 seed from Region 8-AA. When and Where: Friday 7:30 p.m. at Trojan Field. Tickets: Admission for this week’s game is $12 per the Georgia High School Association. There will be no discounted admission but advance tickets are available at Slice’s Pizzeria on Main Street. Only card carrying GHSA members and babies in arms will be admitted free of charge. Weather: Clear and cold. 40° at kickoff, dipping into the 30s as the game progresses. No precipitation but plenty of Thunder. Last week: Lawrence Austin had 250 yards rushing on 18 carries with three touchdowns and caught a pass for another score in the Trojans 38-20 win over Thomasville. Jefferson quarterback Evan Shirreffs, injured in October, came off the bench to throw three scoring passes in the Dragons 61-57 victory over Heard County in Franklin. About Jefferson: Jefferson is a city public school of 862 students in Jackson County roughly 120 miles northwest of Barnesville off I-85 between Gainesville and Athens. The Dragons have been playing football since 1947 and boast a 411-279-22 overall record, one state championship and six region titles. Jefferson has produced two NFL players, Dennis Law, Cincinnati Bengals (1978) and Fernando Velasco, Tennessee Titans (2009). Besides last week’s win over Heard County, in which they gave up 463 yards rushing to Braves running back Durante Dunson, the Dragons have wins over Commerce (40-0), Jackson County (49-0), Greene County (55-10), Rabun County (26-20), Oglethorpe County (49-0), Social Circle (68-0), Riverside Military (62-23), Union County (49-3) and Westminster (28-0) in the first round of the playoffs. Jefferson’s losses were to North Hall (41-34) and Region 8-AA champion Washington-Wilkes (21-14). Series, etc.: First meeting between the two schools. The winner advances to the semi-finals to play either Calhoun or Benedictine who play each other this week in Savannah. Former Lamar Coach Mark Wilson (1996-2002), now at Bryan County, started his head coaching career at Jefferson (1992-95). The Dragons were 28-13 in his time there. Trojan offense vs. Jefferson defense: Lamar is scoring 45.5 points per game while the Dragons are yielding 14.6. Jefferson offense vs. Trojan defense: The Dragons are averaging 43.9 points per game while Lamar yields 10.8. Top Dragon players: Jefferson is led by (#16/QB) Evan Shirreffs, (#14/WR) T.J. Skelton, (#30/RB) Tristen Jackson and (#22/RB) Isaiah Blake on offense and (#4/DB) Tradd Porter, (#9/LB) Trent Sorrells, (#33/LB) Maverick McKinney and (#28/LB) Cooper Young on defense. Jefferson coach: Ben Hall is in his first year as head coach after spending the previous four seasons as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach of the Dragons for the legendary Tom ‘˜T’ McFerrin who retired after 34 years as the eighth winningest coach in state history with 317 victories. Rankings: Lamar County is 2nd in Class AA in a composite ranking of six polls including a number one ranking by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Georgia Sports Writers Association and Georgia Public Broadcasting. Jefferson is the 8th best team in AA according to Max Preps. Prediction: Lamar County 35 Jefferson 21. The Trojans are 15 point favorites per Maxwell Ratings.

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