SPARR — If Jefferson was going to make good on its goal of winning a Class 3A state championship, the Dragons were going to have to do it on the road.
And on Friday night, they traveled two hours north, through raindrops and nothingness to North Marion, where they were welcomed by penny-filled, milk-jug shaking fans and a Colts team looking to show its muscle.
Jefferson coach Mike Fenton's game plan going in was to run a no-huddle offense to keep the Colts off balance. But throughout a rainy night, that wouldn't do.
So the Dragons won on the ground, rushing for five touchdowns in a 35-6 pounding of Citra North Marion.
"They're resilient," Fenton said. "I don't think they care where they play. They just like playing the game. That's the fun thing about this week. They could play on Mars and they wouldn't care."
Jefferson (11-1) won't have to go to Mars for the 3A state semifinals next week; instead, it's a seven-hour drive to Pensacola, a 9-0 winner over St. Augustine.
At stake will be Jefferson's first state title game berth since 2004.
Quarterback Quentin Williams paced the Dragons offense, leading a 14-play, 83-yard touchdown drive that quieted the milk jugs quickly, a drive that included two third-and-long pass conversions.
"He came to play tonight," Fenton said. "He was a gamer no doubt about it. He had a lot of savvy and just did a fabulous job."
Jefferson never let up from there, scoring 21 points in the final 14 minus for emphasis. The Dragons rushed for 222 yards through the showers. Williams, who totaled 207 total yards, ran for two TDs, as did LaDarius Moye (69 rushing yards). Demetrius Russell also scored and had 64 yards on 18 carries.
"I told our guys before the game, 'How would it feel to come into somebody's house far, far away from home and make them turn out their lights?' " Williams said. "We just came with it."
Jefferson's Rashad Dunnigan had an interception, two long returns into Colts territory and threw a 31-yard fake punt pass to Andre Davis to set up a score.
And kudos to the Jefferson defense for holding its own. The aptly nicknamed "darkside" D held North Marion (11-2) to 88 yards total offense, including minus-1 yards rushing, and just five first downs. The Colts' only touchdown came on Jamie Gilmore's 70-yard punt return.
"We thought they were going to run it down the middle and pound it on us, so we were trying to send a message," said linebacker Ramik Wilson, who has four tackles for loss, including two sacks. "We were going to blitz them, hit them in the mouth and do whatever we had to do."
The team bus pulled out of North Marion with Jefferson scrambling to plan a trip to Pensacola.
"Our guys are just hungry right now," Fenton said. "They came out ready to play. At halftime, they weren't satisfied with the lead. They wanted to get more. They just played a great ball game."