Hornets shock Jefferson with late comeback in first-round upset [VIDEO]
This one will go down as one of the all-time upsets in Jefferson history, as the #2-ranked Dragons fell 12-10 to visiting Hapeville Charter, an unranked 5-win team that came in a 28-point underdog. Jefferson (9-2) couldn’t find much on offense, taking a slim 10-0 lead midway through the third. A series of questionable calls (an interception ruled incomplete) and multiple 4th-down conversions haunted the Dragons as the Hornets scored twice, including the go-ahead score with under two minutes to go.
Jefferson opened the game on a high note, as Isaiah Copeland hauled in an interception and returned it inside the red zone. Tre Reece quickly got Jefferson on the board with a 2-yard TD. That 7-0 lead held to the break, as neither team could seem to find a rhythm on offense. Out of the break, Owen Botts knocked home a 32-yard field goal to push the lead to 10-0.
Quantaves Haskins proved to be hard to stop from there, as the running back scored from 2 yards out with 8:33 to go in the game, cutting the deficit to 10-6 after the 2-point conversion failed. On a later drive, the Hornets converted a 4th and 4 and 4th and 6, and benefited from an interception that never happened, as it was ruled incomplete. It led to Haskins’ 6-yard go-ahead score with 1:46 remaining. The 2-point try again failed, giving the Dragons a chance to win with a field goal.
Jefferson was forced to pass the ball, which is not something they often do. Malaki Starks connected on a deep pass to Jordan Perry to get near the red zone, but penalties moved them back beyond field goal range. That forced Starks to heave a few deep tries, before the last one – a short pass – being caught by Dawson Crawley. He was swallowed up by the defense, ending the Dragons’ season in the first round.
Jefferson was held to just 6 first downs and 114 rushing yards, while Hapeville outpaced the Dragons 247-178 in total yards.