War Eagles now 7-1 with two games left
The Putnam County War Eagles came tumbling back to earth last Friday night in a resounding 50-12 region 4-AA loss to Jefferson County in what could have been a pivotal game in the region standings as the AA playoffs begin in three weeks.
In the 2020 playoff brackets, the top four seeds in 4-AA play the top four seeds in 1-AA. Currently, Putnam has the second seed with two games left in the regular season.
The War Eagle defense had surrendered only 28 points all season but did not have an answer for the powerful Jefferson County running attack. Offensively, Putnam came in as the third ranked offensive team in the region averaging nearly 38 points a game but the big Jefferson defense shut down the juggernaut, giving up less than 250 total yards in the game.
“They took us to the woodshed. They whipped us pretty good,” said Putnam head coach Shaun Pope. “They lined up in a single wing formation and we hadn’t seen them in that all year. We tried to adjust on the fly but they physically got after us up front.”
Putnam had minus 9 yards on the opening possession of the night and Jefferson capitalized, scoring with 6:14 in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead after the extra point was blocked. With 5:13 showing, Putnam notched a first down at the Jefferson 21-yard line. A sack, two penalties and two incomplete passes ended in a punt to the Jefferson 43-yard line as time expired in the first.
A mere 10 seconds into the second quarter, Jefferson punched in another score for a 14-0 edge at 11:50. Putnam received the kickoff and set up shop at their own 37-yard line. Eight plays later, they were back on the Jefferson 21-yard line.
This time, an offensive pass interference call in the end zone, and two sacks were wrapped around a nice 17-yatd gain by DJ Bland on a bubble screen but it wasn’t enough and the War Eagles turned it over on downs.
Before Putnam could catch their collective breath, Jefferson marched 75 yards in eight plays to take a commanding 22-0 advantage.
“We have to finish those drives early on in the game,” said Pope. “Then, we couldn’t stop them either. We never got them stopped and when you do that, you have to capitalize on the drives that you do get and we didn’t finish them when we got them.”
Jefferson got the ball to start the third quarter after an onside kick didn’t catch them sleeping. Two plays later, it was 30-0 Jefferson at the 11:06 mark of the third frame. The War Eagles started moving on offense and with 7:57 showing, Tamarion Peters plowed in from four yards out, cutting the lead to 30-6 following a failed two-point conversion.
Down by 24 points, the Putnam defense was loading up and bringing defensive backs closer to the line to help stop the potent Jefferson ground game. Jefferson picked this up and 40 seconds after Putnam scored, Jefferson threw over the top of the shortened defense for a 63-yard touchdown bomb to pull ahead to a 36-6 margin.
Putnam added a score on the ensuing possession when Gerald Kilgore scampered for a 44 yard touchdown, trimming the deficit to 36-12 but that would be it as Jefferson added two more scores for the big 50-12 victory.
We are going back to work and keep pumping the iron,” said Pope. “We have to keep working. We didn’t lose the region [tonight] and we didn’t win the region. All of our goals are still in front of us so we have to continue to work and take care of what we can control.
“What we can control is working and getting ready for Josey next week.”
Putnam will host Josey in the last regular season home game at 7:30 p.m.