Friday March 1st, 2024 6:00AM

Playoff preview: Jefferson-Creekside showdown pits top offenses vs. stout defenses

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

After two straight years of failing to get out of the first round, Jefferson is on its best playoff run since 2020 when it advanced to the Class 4A state championship game.

A hard-hitting defense and a punishing ground game, both led by Sammy Brown, have been the catalyst and the Dragons will need both on Friday when they travel to Creekside in the Class 5A semifinals. The winner will get the Cartersville-Coffee County winner in the state title game on Dec. 13 at 4 p.m. at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Both offenses have dominated their first three opponents and both defenses have been stingy to a fault.

The Seminoles are looking for their first championship game appearance since winning the 2013 Class 5A state title. 

Here’s a brief look at some of the key stats for Friday night’s matchup. Look for more stories throughout the week on the Dragons’ showdown with the Seminoles.


CLASS 5A SEMIFINALS
JEFFERSON at CREEKSIDE

Records: Dragons (13-0, No. 1 Region 8-5A); Seminoles (12-1, No. 1 seed Region 5-5A)
Last week: Jefferson beat Harris County, 35-12; Creekside beat Warner Robins, 35-14
Where: Fairburn, Arrowhead Stadium (The Swamp)
Radio: WDUN 102.9 FM
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: First-ever meeting between the two schools. The Seminoles are into their second semifinal in three years. The Dragons are into their second semifinal since 2020. This has the makings for an offensive shootout. The Seminoles lead Class 5A in scoring (549, 42.23 ppg) while Jefferson is 3rd (515, 39.62 ppg). Jefferson RB Sammy Brown leads 5A in rushing (2,140 yards, 35 TDs) and the Seminoles' Roderick McCrary is 3rd in rushing with 1,885 yards and 12 TDs. Creekside is more balanced, averaging 182 yards/game passing behind Sr. QB Vinson Berry, who has 2,188 yards passing and 38 TD to just 4 INT on the season. Shane Kelley leads the 'Noles with 1,030 yards receiving. But both defenses are stout. Jefferson is 4th in 5A allowing just 10.69 ppg behind Brown, who also leads 5A in tackles with 123. Creekside has given up the most of any of the remaining teams in the 5A field (219, 25.38 ppg) but have yielded just 11.9 ppg since their only loss to Mater Dei (CA).
What to watch for: The Jefferson defense vs. the Creekside offense. The Dragons have struggled early in each of the first three playoff games and they cannot let the Seminoles, who have scored 35 or more in 7 straight games, get a quick jump on them. Brown and the rest of the Dragons defense, which has 66 TFL, including 24 sacks and 17 takeaways, will have to find a way to slow them down to allow the offense a chance to grind out some drives and shorten the game.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports, Friday Game Night
  • Associated Tags: High school football, Jefferson football
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