Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

St. Pius 43, Jefferson 29

St. Pius’ option offense is a throwback to yesteryear and their time machine is traveling at warp speed.

The Golden Lions scored 28 first-half points, all on rushing plays, which set the tone for a 43-29 upset victory against the visiting Jefferson Dragons.

Like a popular hashtag phrase flooding social media website timelines, the Golden Lions are trending in an upward direction. This stunning triumph extends their winning streak to three in a row after starting the year at 0-5. The team’s 43 points was the highest total posted on the scoreboard this season.

“The credit goes to our seniors. We only have 14 seniors. We started off the season at 0-5 playing the toughest schedule in 4A. They didn’t let anyone get down,” said St. Pius head coach Paul Standard. “Nobody panicked. We stayed the course and kept getting better. Jefferson is a well-coached and they’re talented, but our young men played their hearts out. Each game we’ve rushed for over 300 yards each game. Coach Chad Garrison does a great job with the offensive line.”

St. Pius led 7-6 in the first stanza before exploding for 21 points in the second quarter.

Running back Jason Jones put his signature on the game when he took an option pitch from quarterback Connor Egan and sprinted by the defense for a 44-yard touchdown.

Jefferson quickly responded with a score of its own on the ensuing possession. Wide receiver Sammy Elegreet hauled in a 13-yard reception from Bryce Moore to draw even at 14.

St. Pius took this punch and answered the bell with trips to the end zone on consecutive drives to go ahead 28-14 at intermission.

The Dragons opened the second half with a strong drive which was extended by roughing the passer penalty and a 56-yard run by Colby Wood. The swift running back carried the ball to the 3-yard line which set up a short touchdown by Justin Cole, shrinking the score to 28-21.

Later in the frame, Egan called his own number for the Golden Lions and pushed the ball across the goal line on a quarterback keeper to extend the lead to 35-21. This score would hold to close out the third quarter.

However, Jefferson refused to go away with ease. Elegreet recorded his second touchdown of the evening and following a successful 2-point conversion, the Dragons trailed 35-29.

With the momentum slipping through the Golden Lions' fingers, Egan methodically led his squad downfield in pursuit of victory. The quarterback took matters into his own hands and feet. He first threw a long pass to get within striking distance. The signal caller then muscled his way on a strong touchdown run on third-and-seven from the 10.

“Jefferson is a talented team and they made it a difficult fight. Our linemen did a terrific job. It’s easy when I got those hogs in front of me. They may not be the biggest, but they know how to get in there and get dirty. They make it easy for me and our backs,” said Egan.

This shocking defeat snaps Jefferson's four-game winning streak. During this run, the Dragons gave up 32 points and posted back-to-back shutouts in the process.

“They just put on a clinic with the triple option offense. We had to answer offensively and match them score-for-score. We’re disappointed. I thought we were ready to play. Obviously, I didn’t have them ready to play and that’s on me,” said Jefferson head coach Gene Cathcart.

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