Tigers headed to postseason after win

Published 1:07 am Saturday, November 1, 2008

FAYETTE — Jefferson County received its second consecutive Class 3A playoff berth with a win over Wilkinson County on Friday.

But just like nearly every other game for the Tigers this season, it was close almost to the end.

Jefferson County was tied with the winless Wildcats through the first quarter before moving ahead by eight in the second quarter.

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The Wildcats, in bubble-bursting fashion, came back for another touchdown in the third quarter before the Tigers put it away for good with just over 4 minutes left in their homecoming game.

“It’s been basically the same thing all year,” said Jefferson County coach James Herrington. “The games have been close regardless of who we’ve played against, whether it be big, ranked teams or teams that haven’t been ranked. The team has been resilient and played hard until the end.”

The Region 7 team has had three games decided by three points or less and two more decided by eight points before Friday’s win.

But the legs of quarterback Jeffrey Collins, running back Jason Davis and fullback Calvin Lewis carried the Tigers past a feisty Wildcats team.

“I can’t go without mentioning my senior quarterback,” Herrington said. “Everybody thought we’d be hurting at the quarterback position after losing Percy Turner. Jeffery came in and stepped up, and he did a hell of a job.”

Collins recorded 113 yards on 13 carries and added 58 on four complete passes.

Lewis added 14 carries for 96 yards, and Davis had 92 yards on 13 runs.

“Our offensive line was doing some good blocking,” Collins said. “When they’re doing good blocking, we can run the ball down their throat. I give credit to my offensive line. They gave me time in the pocket.”

Wilkinson County coach Elbert “Mo” Lyles said his team knew there were no playoff implications for them in the game, so they were simply making themselves known for next season.

Brandon Harton ran 12 times for 77 yards in the second through third quarters.

“He’s a hard worker. He’s committed. He runs hard, he finishes the run,” Lyles said of Harton. “If he keeps his head on, I think good things can happen for him. We look forward to working with him and getting him to his top level.”

Quarterback Devin Fosselman added 65 yards on nine carries in those three quarters.

Lyles said the Wildcats were just hoping for a good showing and wanted to prepare for 2009.

“They’re a very young ball club, and they played tough from beginning to end,” Herrington said. They will cause trouble next year.”

Jefferson County scored first on a 1-yard run by Collins which was quickly answered by a 2-yard Kenneth Jarvis run. Collins completed a pass to Trellvion Gaines for 5 yards in the end of the second quarter, and Calvin Lewis ran for a 21-yard score to end the game.

Fosselman recorded Wilkinson County’s second score with a 2-yard run in the third.

The Tigers were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by Perry Central, 24-20, last season, and Collins said he’s excited for the chance to go back.

“This year, I know we’re going to get one on the road,” he said. “Jefferson County ain’t never won a first round playoff. That’s my duty, to get us to the next round. We want to get up to Jackson.”

Still, Herrington expects the playoff road to be tough, and he wants to see more drive from his team.

”We made our share of mistakes, and if we plan on going further we’ve got to have a better performance than we had tonight,” Herrington said. “But we can’t complain. A lot of people want to be where we’re at.”