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Dragons rout Tigers to clinch district title

Alex Suber and Nigel Smith go over 100 yards rushing to lead Jefferson's 51-14 win over Jesuit.

BRANDON WRIGHT
Published October 30, 2004

TAMPA - Usually, when Jefferson coach Mike Simmonds enters the field house three hours before kickoff, he's met by the chatter and playfulness of his players.

Not Friday.

"You could have heard a pin drop in there," he said. "This team knew what was on the line, and they were unbelievably focused."

That focus translated into a 51-14 thrashing of Jesuit at Sam Horton Field and the second straight Class 3A, District 10 title.

"There was a lot of hype coming into this game that Jesuit might win," Jefferson's Dohnovan Simpson said. "But it was obvious which team is better."

The Dragons scored through the air and on the ground and gained more than 500 yards of offense.

"That was definitely the most complete game we've played all season," Simmonds said. "And that certainly ranks up there as one of the best games in my seven years here."

Jesuit players and coaches left for the team bus immediately after the game and were not available for comment.

Alex Suber (101 and a touchdown) and Nigel Smith (105 and two touchdowns) ran for more than 100 yards, and Stephen Garcia was efficient, completing 12 of 16 passes for 138 yards and a 16-yard touchdown to Simpson.

"We knew (Jesuit) couldn't stop our offense," Garcia said.

That was the case during the first half as the Dragons controlled the ball and scored on all four of their possessions.

"We have a very impressive offense, and all the credit goes to our offensive coordinator, Mike Fenton," Simmonds said.

"The only team that can stop us is ourselves."

The Dragons defense was just as sharp. Jefferson intercepted four passes, recorded three sacks and recovered a fumble.

After Trent Pupello's punt pinned the Tigers on their 1, quarterback Chris Uhrig was hit while releasing a pass. The ball was caught by Keith Bryant in the end zone for his second interception of the game and a 30-7 lead with 4:17 left in the third.

It was Jefferson's third win over the Tigers in four years in what has become a bubbling rivalry. The team combined for 31 penalties, 20 by Jefferson.

"I want to personally thank the officials for all the flags thrown," Simmonds said, "because it helped prolong Jesuit's misery."

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