WATKINSVILLE -- It wasn't quite as cut and dried as he would have liked it, but Benji Harrison was more than happy to take his Jackson County football team's 48-32 defeat of Oconee County on Friday night in Watkinsville.
The Panthers (5-3, 3-2 Region 8-AAA) watched early leads dwindle on a couple of occasions but still managed a 99-yard drive to put the contest out of reach and overcome some sizable history in the process.
By claiming its fifth victory of the season Jackson County ensured its most wins in a campaign since 1992, when the Panthers went 8-2-1 and last reached the state playoffs.
Still in the midst of his first season in charge, it was a milestone Harrison won't soon forget.
"It was huge, especially for these seniors, most of whom have played since they were freshmen," Harrison said. "It's very special that they be the ones to turn it around."
Senior running back Dustin Scott certainly played a key role on Friday, rushing 24 times for 317 yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Kyle Daniel also stepped to the fore, completing 23 of 36 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions.
Junior receivers Xavier Harper and Ben Brissey also played key roles for the Panthers, Harper catching 10 passes for 104 yards and two scores and Brissey hauling in six passes for 84 yards and two scores.
Speaking of playoffs, the Panthers are still in the playoff hunt in 8-AAA, and Friday's victory ensured they will stay in that race until the end.
"We had to have that game tonight to keep us in the race," Harrison said. "We knew it would be tough, but we kept fighting and came up big."
Jackson County will play host to Elbert County next Friday.