Jefferson blanks Applemen to reach quarterfinals
With its defense shackling Musselman’s ground game and quarterback Isaac Myers running for four scores as well as intercepting two passes, Jefferson thundered past the Applemen, 36-0, in the opening round of the state Class AAA playoffs.
It was Jefferson’s best all-around game of the up-and-down season, which had the Cougars reach the playoffs with a 5-5 regular season record.
When the Applemen couldn’t sustain anything on the ground, their pass offense wasn’t going to save them.
The shutout was Jefferson’s only one of the 2016 season . . . and came at just the right time.
The 14th-seeded Cougars move to the quarterfinals where they will travel again
— going to Charleston to face Capital High on Saturday in a 1:30 p.m. game.
Jefferson had managed a 10-0 lead by halftime as Myers scored on a broken play from the two and Jimmy King booted a 28-yard field goal.
Musselman could not find the same running room it had shown in nine of its 10 regular season games. The Applemen owned a 40-15 win over the Cougars, but were dismantled, 54-14, in their regular season finale against top-seeded Martinsburg.
When Jefferson failed to cover the kickoff that began the second half, they appeared to be in trouble with the Applemen recovering at the Cougars’ 36-yard line.
But the defense held again. And Myers led the Cougars on a 74-yard scoring march in only six plays, giving Jefferson a 16-0 lead with his 28-yard touchdown run. Myers came back to score again when he recovered his own fumble and went 24 yards to boost the Jefferson lead to 24-0.
On the last play of the third period, Myers scampered eight yards for still another score. Jefferson’s lead had mushroomed to 30-0.
Meanwhile, the Cougar defense was in control of Musselman’s turnover-plagued offense.
With Myers contributing two pass interceptions, the Jefferson defense claimed three interceptions and two fumble recoveries from the troubled Applemen.
Myers finished with 169 rushing yards and 122 passing yards. Musselman managed only 174 yards of total offense.
Capital enters the quarterfinals with an 8-3 record and was the big-school state champion in 2014.
It’s Jefferson third straight trip to the playoffs, but the win over the Applemen was its first success in those consecutive years in the postseason.