By Jeremy McDonald
JEFFERSON, Ore.– Jefferson weren’t going down without a fight as they came out firing to despite what the scoreboard said coming out of the locker room: Monroe 43, Lions 12.
The defense held the Dragons to no points on the first defensive drive of the game as their offense answered the bell with a Luke McGivney’s to Jayden Eriksen 18-yard strike with the defense answered the bell again and again with the Lions cutting the score to 43-26 after McGivney’s second touchdown pass.
They’ve been in this situation before entering their Week 5 game. Coquille was a prime example of them turning a 8-0 deficit to a 22-14 win on September 14.
“We’ve done it before. I’m just trying to battle for my team and made the plays that we needed to make,” said McGivney, who’s second TD pass was to Diego Rodriguez for 42-yards.
The Monroe offense, that saw Zach Thomas go off for five first half scores, were running-and-pounding during the second half. But the Jefferson defense held them to 61 second half yards with the Lions defense stepping up to hold off the Class 2A State Champions.
Dragons Quarterback Brody Ballard said that the Lions adapted well to them entering the second half.
“I think first half we came out what we came out to do. Second half, things got muddy, they adapted well,” said Ballard who had two carries for eight yards in the second half. “I was still very happy with our offense.”
The Lions defense stuffed the run and pressured the Dragon offense to duplicate their first half success during the later 24 minutes as Jefferson challenged the 2A Champions.
“We just find our momentum and just get hyped up over halftime and come back and battle back,” said Eriksen. “The last couple of games we’ve been a second half team and we fixed the little things that got us up and we were right there.”
Despite the offensive struggles the Monroe defense too answered the challenge by Jefferson. They got a big stop to prevent the Lions to go three-for-three to start the second half on offense to start the fourth quarter.
The Dragons defense followed that with an interception on a promising Jefferson drive that was then a Ballard interception of McGivney the next possession to ensure that the 43-26 score became the final. Monroe would go on to down the ball for their fourth victory of the year and handing Jefferson their first loss.
As they met as a team afterwards, their coaches pointed out that they are right there with this State Contender and to learn from it. With Regis next Friday, it’s a great opportunity for the Lions to put this game behind them.
“You know, we’ve never been in this position before and we’re learning from all of our little mistakes,” said Eriksen. “I think this is a good experience for us. Sadly, it didn’t go in our favor but I think we watch film, prep on the little things and be ready.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald