If it wasn’t the wildest playoff game this post-season, perhaps it was just the best.
Jefferson blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, then survived three overtimes to beat Fitzgerald 53-51. Jefferson became only the third team in state history to win a playoff game despite giving up 50 points.
‘’Everyone who talked to me said the same thing: It was the greatest football game they had ever seen,’ ‘’ said Jefferson’s T. McFerrin, in his 35th season as a head coach in Georgia. “I have never been in a game like that in all of my career. Neither team deserved to lose that game. Fitzgerald has a great team and played even greater.’’
Jefferson had a 31-16 lead in the final quarter but couldn’t hold it and got it to overtime only when Wesley Simonton blocked a 33-yard field goal with 19 seconds left in regulation.
In the third overtime, which requires that both team go for two-point conversions after touchdowns, Jefferson quarterback Bryant Shirreffs – who has over 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing on the season – threw a TD pass and a conversion to fullback Tristen Jackson.
Simonton, Hanon Price (16 solo tackles) and Tradd Porter (10 solo tackles, six assists) combined to make the stop on Fitzgerald’s two-point attempt.
The victory was historic. Jefferson extended its school-record winning streak to 12 games and is in the semifinals for the first time since 1977. McFerrin, who came out of five years of retirement to take the Jefferson job in 2009, is in the semifinals with his fifth different school, which is a state record.
Ron Swain scored five touchdowns for Fitzgerald, which became only the third team ever to lose a playoff game while scoring 50 points. The others were Stephens County (2007 to Chamblee) and South Cobb (2004 to Collins Hill).