clearn.png
Saturday November 27th, 2021 9:10PM

Dragons' Cathcart: Don't want rare road win to be 'too early of a banquet'

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

JEFFERSON — Even for programs like Buford or Valdosta, knocking off a No. 1-ranked team on the road is akin to say, Vanderbilt beating Alabama: it just isn’t done much.

So, when Jefferson went to Tiger last week and collected a 28-14 win over the Class 2A top-ranked Wildcats, it was more than just a win. It was a first.

The Dragons had gone on the road six previous times in their history to take on a No. 1 team -- as far back as 1963 for their first shot and the most recent in the 2013 Class 2A state quarterfinals. All six times they came home empty.

But last week’s impressive takedown of Rabun County finally put them in that rarified air of team’s that actually knocked the King off the hill. It marked the Dragons’ first-ever ROAD win over a top-ranked team in program history in 475 total victories since its inception in 1947.

The Dragons had two previous victories over top-ranked teams -- 31-14 over Calhoun in 2012 for the Class 2A state title in the old Georgia Dome; 10-0 over Commerce in 1982 at Memorial Stadium. But never a road win.

“I didn’t know that,” current Jefferson coach Gene Cathcart said. “That’s pretty cool. But it shows you just how hard of a thing it is to do. To beat a No. 1 team -- and I don’t care what level you’re looking at -- you have to play well in all phases and your star players have to play to their elite status. It's even harder on the road.

“We did both of those things, I thought. Our defense really did about as good a job as could do on a guy like (Rabun County junior quarterback and South Carolina-commit) Gunnar and that offense, which is explosive. (Our main stars) Malaki (Starks), Kolton Jones, and the rest of the guys on offense, especially the guys up front, really did a nice job of controlling the game. Our special teams did not make any mistakes. When you get everything working together, you have the potential.”

But Cathcart, who was not with the program seven years ago, referenced the 2013 game -- a 35-24 quarterfinals loss to Lamar County -- as to why last week’s win will be a special one. That team was coached by current Flowery Branch coach Ben Hall, who later added Cathcart to his staff.

“I’ve heard about that game over the years,” he said. “Jefferson had about as good a team as the year before and a group they thought could get it done. But it didn’t work out that way.

“Team’s are ranked No. 1 for a reason. They’ve earned it in many cases. They’re used to being a target and know how to play in those situations. Those teams are no flukes. I think that was kind of the case in that game (against Lamar).”

The Dragons currently sit No. 2 in Class 4A, despite the big win. Perennial 4A power Marist occupies the top spot, as the War Eagles have all season. Now, Cathcart says the biggest challenge is to make sure last week’s win doesn’t turn into what he calls a ‘too early of a banquet win.’

“Early successes are good for scrapbooking and nothing else,” he said. “This was a big win but if we don't build on it no one will remember it. These kinds of games can turn into a too early of a banquet win if you lose in the playoffs.

“The goal is to not let that happen. In high school the idea is to get into the playoffs with the best seeding possible. That’s our goal. Again, this was a great win for us and the program. But we have another game this week, another one after that, then the region, and hopefully the playoffs. We’re going to put this behind us as quick as we can.”

It may be gone soon, but we doubt it will be forgotten anytime soon.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports, Friday Game Night
  • Associated Tags: High school football, Jefferson football
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
United ends winless skid with win over FC Dallas
Jeff Larentowicz scored on a penalty kick and Atlanta United beat FC Dallas 1-0 on Wednesday night to end a six-game winless streak...
9:33PM ( 5 hours ago )
Softball: East Hall wins 8-4A slugfest over Chestatee; Wednesday roundup
East Hall rallied from an early deficit to win a slugfest over Chestatee, 12-8, Wednesday in Region 8-4A action at East Hall Park...
9:03PM ( 6 hours ago )
Media picks Alabama to top Florida in SEC championship game
Alabama is the media favorite to win the Southeastern Conference title while Florida is the pick to win the Eastern Division...
6:48PM ( 8 hours ago )
Sports
Coaches Corner: Area programs continue building for region play
Last week gave fans several exciting moments, including the thrilling late drive by Flowery Branch to knock off Gainesville, and Jefferson's defense proved it's just as good, if not better than last year, in a 28-14 win over Class 2A No. 1-ranked Rabun County.
11:59AM ( 1 day ago )
GHS, Buford, West Hall play host to intriguing night on Jacobs Media airwaves
Week 4 will be the biggest night of the young season around northeast Georgia with 17 total games on tap this Friday. And of course we have three good matchups in store on the Jacobs Media airwaves and streaming live on AccessWDUN, which should give fans plenty to get excited about...
8:06AM ( 1 day ago )
Softball: Branch, Lumpkin, Jefferson take region wins; Buford rolls
Nikki Harris scattered four hits and struck out eight to lead Flowery Branch to a big 3-1, Region 8-4A win over North Oconee on Monday in girls softball action...
6:25AM ( 1 day ago )
High School Sports
White County routs Pickens; 3-0 first time since 2017
White County is 3-0 for the first time since 2017.
10:58PM ( 5 days ago )
Spartans roll past JHS in Battle of Oakwood
West Hall avenged last season's last-second loss in a 50-0 blowout win over rival Johnson at Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium on Friday.
10:46PM ( 5 days ago )
Union uses big plays to take down Class 4A Chestatee
Eli Peugh set the tone for Union County picking off a Chestatee pass on the opening play of the game for a pick-6 and helping the Panthers knock off the War Eagles 39-19 on Friday night at Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium...
10:23PM ( 5 days ago )
Friday Game Night
2020 Northeast Georgia region standings
By AccessWDUN Staff
10:30AM ( 3 months from now )
Towns County off to surprising hot start: Or are they?
Jason Roquemore insists nothing has changed for his Towns County football team. Which considering that the Indians went a disappointing 0-10 in 2019 may not be the most ringing of endorsements on initial examination...
3:06PM ( 1 day ago )
GHS, Buford, West Hall play host to intriguing night on Jacobs Media airwaves
Week 4 will be the biggest night of the young season around northeast Georgia with 17 total games on tap this Friday. And of course we have three good matchups in store on the Jacobs Media airwaves and streaming live on AccessWDUN, which should give fans plenty to get excited about...
8:06AM ( 1 day ago )
5 Things: What we learned from Week 3 of high school football
Local rivalries, eye-opening blowouts and nail-biting finishes made Week 3 of high school football arguably the best one yet in 2020
7:25AM ( 2 days ago )
Town County thumps Lumpkin for 2nd straight win
It's not that Towns County beat Lumpkin County. It's the manner in which they did so...
10:15AM ( 4 days ago )