FRANKLIN -- Despite yielding more than 500 yards of offense and 57 points through three-plus quarters, the Jefferson defense arrived in the nick of time.
The Dragons defense made three crucial defensive stops in the final five minutes and allowed the Jefferson offense to pull off a miraculous rally in a 61-57 win over Heard County on Friday night in the second round of the Class AA playoffs.
The scene was eerily similar to Jefferson's 53-51 triple-overtime win over Fitzgerald last year in the playoffs and sent the Dragons into this year's quarterfinal round -- where they will travel to take on Lamar County.
Heard County had the ball and the lead midway through the fourth quarter but the Jefferson defense, which has five shutouts on the season, did its best Stonewall Jackson impersonation.
The Dragons forced a punt, setting up a long drive capped by a 10-yard run for a touchdown by Tristen Jackson to cut the lead to 57-54 with just over 4:00 left in the game. The defense then held the Braves again.
Evan Shirreffs then engineered a quick drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Skelton for an improbable 61-57 lead with just over a minute left in the game.
The defense took it from there, stopping the Braves one last time to preserve the victory.
NOTES: The win for Jefferson was its first-ever road playoff win in school history