Tigers go undefeated in region 7-3A

Published 10:27 pm Friday, October 28, 2022

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WOODVILLE — Even though it was Senior Night at Wilkinson County High School when the Wildcats played host to Jefferson County High School last Thursday night, it was a freshman wide receiver for the Tigers who turned a lot of heads.

Jalen Johnson had four receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns to help lead a Jefferson County offense that racked up about 400 yards of total offense as the Tigers defeated the Wilkinson County Wildcats 30-6 to finish undefeated in MHSAA Region 7-3A.

“I thought that we would be more successful on the ground than in the air, but it turned out to be just the opposite because we had one of our young freshman receivers step up,” Tigers head coach Roderick Holmes said about Johnson’s unexpected performance. “He played exceptional.”

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After a scoreless first quarter, Jefferson County scored three touchdowns to take the air out of the home crowd at Wilkinson County and take a 20-0 lead into halftime.

“We started off playing a little slow. But as the game went on, we found a little rhythm,” Holmes said. “Woodville (Wilkinson County) played hard, but we were able to play a little harder.” 

The Tigers scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the third quarter while the Wildcats made sure they would not be shut out as they scored a touchdown in that same quarter to trail by quarter’s end 28-6.

Jermall Williams finished off the scoring with a safety in the fourth quarter. He led the Tigers’ defense with 10 tackles and one sack. Tylan Johnson had five tackles while Eldrin Brown had four tackles and one interception.

As for how the defense played, Holmes said, “Sometimes we didn’t play as fast as we normally do. But we did ultimately play as one.”

Jefferson County junior quarterback Jabari Watson completed 12 of 19 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns. JJ Claiborne led the Tigers’ rushing attack with 70 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries while Jaekwon Collins had four carries for 23 yards and one touchdown.

“We were able to display out depth with some of the younger guys coming up,” Holmes said.

With the win, Jefferson County improved to 7-2 overall and 4-0 in Region 7-3A — the first time the Tigers ran the table in region play since 2019.

“It’s a great accomplishment. I give the credit to my staff and the young man that play for us,” Holmes said.

Jefferson County, the Region 7 No. 1 seed, will now focus its attention to the Region 8 No. 4 seed Seminary High School Bulldogs, whom the Tigers will play host to next Friday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the MHSAA Class 3A South State Playoffs.

Wilkinson County finished its season with an 0-9 overall record and an 0-4 mark in region play.