MADISON – In an important region matchup, Jefferson forced five turnovers and sophomore quarterback Carter Stephenson stepped in adequately in a 35-14 win over Morgan County.

The Dragons (7-1, 3-0 Region 8-3A) tuned up for Monroe Area next week in a game that will most likely determine the winner of the region.

The Jefferson defense stopped the Bulldogs four times inside the red zone and scored a touchdown of their own as defensive back Nick Evans scooped up a fumble and ran all 25 yards to the end zone on the opening drive.

“Our defensive staff does a great job of never stopping the competition,” said Cathcart. “We had a lot of young guys, especially for a banged-up football team, step up and make big plays in the red area.”

Morgan County (3-5, 2-2 Region 8-3A) finally scored on a 2-yard touchdown run by 3-star Georgia Tech commit Jordan Huff with 11:55 remaining in the game.

Stephenson threw two touchdown passes and only one incompletion. One touchdown came on a beautifully lobbed throw to Garmon Randolph with only 11 seconds remaining in the first half to extend the lead to 21-0.

“It is so nice to have a full week to prepare him,” said Cathcart of his sophomore quarterback who was forced into action after recent injuries. “He hasn’t gotten hardly any reps outside of the second team and junior varsity and now he has gotten into a rhythm and routine that allows him to play better.”

Stephenson also connected with Zac Corbin on a 70-yard seam route at the start of the second half.

“We dinked and dunked last week to get Stephenson going,” said Cathcart. “Morgan County sat on the short routes this week so we were able to make a couple of plays over the top.”

Jefferson spread around touches with a different player scoring every touchdown.

“Morgan County came out with some new looks that got our offense off to a slow start,” said Cathcart. “But once we got going, we settled in and made plays.”

Cathcart was impressed with the way his players keep responding to adversity this season.

“The first word that comes to mind with this team is perseverance,” said Cathcart. “We’ve had a cluster of injuries this season, and our guys have stepped up specifically where the needs are.”

Despite big plays by Huff, Morgan County continually failed to score points.

Huff finished with 83 total yards and two touchdowns, including a 13-yard touchdown catch called back after receiving a personal foul for hurtling two defenders.

“Morgan County does a great job of getting him the ball in different formations,” said Cathcart. “Their quarterback has a cannon for an arm and was able to make some nice throws to him.”

Morgan County sits on the edge of playoff contention at fourth in the region. The Bulldogs will need a win against a struggling East Jackson next week.

Jefferson faces Monroe Area next week on the Hurricanes' brand-new turf field that just opened last week.