By Alvin Richardson
Morgan County moved the ball nicely all night long against a Jefferson defense that came in ranked fourth in Class AAA but couldn’t convert enough of those drives into points. Meanwhile the Dragons took full advantage of a couple of Bulldog miscues to build a 21-0 halftime lead and go on to a 35-14 victory in a Region 8AAA game. Jefferson’s win put them in a position to play for a number one seed and the loss snuffed out Morgan’s chances to host a state playoff game.
The Bulldogs outgained Jefferson on the night putting up 357 yards to 303 for the Dragons but were undone when they couldn’t convert red zone opportunities. The Dogs drove deep into Dragon territory twice in the opening quarter only to come away without any points. Those two early empty possessions gave Jefferson the opening they needed and the eighth ranked team in Class AAA didn’t squander them.
Bulldog defensive coordinator Brett Bell noted, “Jefferson had a significant size advantage on us in the line of scrimmage and it hurt us trying to defend their triple option but I thought our guys fought hard all night long.” Bell also noted some outstanding play from three players and said, “Cole Freeman who is the quarterback of our defense had a great game with 13 total tackles. Denver Laughlin added 10 total tackles and had an interception and Jit Peters played a nice game with five tackles while battling through an injury.”
Offensively Morgan County was led by Trent Folds who completed 16 of 30 passes for 284 yards, by Jordan Huff who caught five passes for 127 yards and had two rushing touchdowns, and by Boone Bruce who had three catches for 99 yards.
The Bulldogs suffered a fumble on their first possession that the Dragons scooped up and returned for a touchdown and an early 7-0 lead but Morgan steadied and put together a nice 58 yard drive on their next opportunity. Starting at the 20 Morgan County got big chunks of yardage on a Trent Folds to Boone Bruce pass that covered 14 yards and an out route from Folds to Seth Robertson that was good for 13. The Bulldogs reached the Jefferson 23 yard line where the drive stalled. Finn Williams came on to try a 40 yard field goal but the attempt was wide left and the score stayed 7-0.
The Bulldog defensive unit forced a punt on Jefferson’s next possession and three plays later Morgan was knocking on the door. The key play came on a post route to Jordan Huff from Folds that covered 52 yards to the Dragon 22 yard line. From there things bogged down. The Dogs gained seven yards on three plays and faced a fourth and three from the 15. Coach Bill Malone decided to go for it but things didn’t go as planned. On a direct snap to Jordan Huff the Jefferson defense corralled Huff and after he doubled back was tackled for a 12 yard loss and Morgan’s second scoring opportunity of the night was gone.
Jefferson then went on a 73 yard march that took 14 plays and finished it off with a two yard touchdown to make it 14-0 with 5:25 left in the half.
Late in the second period Morgan County suffered an interception and Jefferson took over on their 34 with 36 seconds left. The Dragons looked content to run out the clock but the trap play they ran gained 26 yards and they were in business at Morgan’s 40 with 22 ticks left. After a time out Jefferson completed a 19 yard pass to the 21 and with 11 seconds remaining in the half they connected on touchdown pass that made it 21-0 at intermission to put a serious damper on Morgan’s chances.
Jefferson quickly put the game out of reach with a pair of scores in the third quarter. Those touchdowns came on a 69 yard pass and a 12 yard run to make it 35-0 with 7:52 left in the period.
Morgan County kept fighting and put together another drive deep into Dragon territory. They got there with two big plays. A quick screen to Seth Robertson was good for 17 yards and a deep pass to Jordan Huff that covered 45 yards put Morgan in business at the Jefferson eight but four plays later a pass fell incomplete and the Dogs came up empty again.
Before the third quarter was over Morgan made their fourth trip deep into Jefferson territory but it just wasn’t the Bulldog’s night in the red zone. Boone Bruce made a circus catch on a deep ball from Folds that covered 37 yards to the Dragon nine yard line. Morgan County reached the four but a sack on fourth down thwarted the Bulldogs once more.
After a frustrating night of near misses the Bulldogs broke through. Denver Laughlin came up with an interception that put Morgan in business at the Jefferson 23 yard line. A defensive holding penalty on the Dragons moved it to the 13 and Folds found Huff in the flat for what looked to be a touchdown but a penalty negated the play. On the next snap Folds hit Huff on an out route to the one yard line and on the first play of the fourth quarter Huff took a direct snap and scored to get Morgan on the board.
The Bulldogs posted one more touchdown in the fourth quarter. This one came on an 80 yard drive that was keyed by a 41 yard pass from Trent Folds to Boone Bruce. That put Morgan on Jefferson’s 19 yard line and from there Folds hit Denver Laughlin for seven yards to the 12. After a loss of three on first down Folds found Huff for 12 yards to the three and from there Jordan Huff scored his second touchdown of the night on a direct snap to make it 35-14 and that’s the way it ended.
The loss dropped Morgan’s region record to 2-2 and their overall mark to 3-5. The Bulldogs have a week off before hosting East Jackson on October 26th.
Morgan County vs Jefferson Score by Quarters
Jefferson 7 14 14 0 35
Morgan County 0 0 0 14 14
Morgan County vs Jefferson Yardage Totals
Jefferson 164 139 303
Morgan County 73 284 357
Morgan County vs Jefferson Key Offensive Stats
Passing Comp. / Att. Yards TD’s
Trent Folds 16 / 30 284 0
Rushing Yards Attempts Yds. / Carry TD’s
Keirreon Farley 36 8 4.5 0
Jordan Huff 26 7 3.7 2
Receiving Receptions Yards Yds. / Catch TD’s
Jordan Huff 5 127 25.4 0
Boone Bruce 3 99 33.0 0
Seth Robertson 3 36 12.0 0
Denver Laughlin 3 29 9.7 0
Morgan County vs Jefferson Key Defensive Stats
Player Solos Assists TFL FF Int.
Denver Laughlin 6 4 0 0 1
Cole Freeman 4 9 0 0 0
Jitavious Peters 3 2 0 1 0
David Williams 3 2 0 0 0
Zan Mohone 3 2 0 0 0
Derrance Nash 3 0 1 0 0
Chris Walls 2 1 1 0 0
Seth Robertson 2 1 0 0 0
Region 8AAA Standings
Team Region Record Overall Record
Monroe Area 4-0 8-0
Jefferson 4-0 7-1
Morgan County 2-2 3-5
Hart County 1-2 2-5
Franklin County 1-2 2-5
Jackson County 0-3 2-5
East Jackson 0-3 1-6
Scores from Region 8AAA
Jefferson 35 Morgan Co. 13
Monroe Area 38 Hart Co. 0
Franklin County 49 East Jackson 7
Jackson County (Off)