Jefferson County coach J.B. Arnold was on his defense all week in practice, knowing it would have to lead the way.
As the coach stood after the game near his listening players, he gave credit: the defense did it.
By holding Greenbrier to fewer than 70 yards of offense, the Warriors’ defense gave Jefferson County a 19-6 win at Greenbrier Friday night.
“We’re so young on offense, our defense has to pick us up,” Arnold said. “The defense won the game for us.”
With the game tied at 6 in the third quarter, the Warriors came up with the key turnover on a T.J. Clark interception that led to a short touchdown that gave Jefferson County (1-2) the lead.
Earlier, both defenses forced a turnover near midfield, but Clark’s interception and return to the Wolfpack 2 helped make it 13-6.
Later, after a fourth-down stand meant Greenbrier came up empty on a drive that took almost seven minutes, Nigel Mathis added some cushion with a 46-yard run. Mathis finished with 64 yards as Jefferson County had 152 offensive yards and three turnovers.
Greenbrier (1-2) tried to rally, but it didn’t score on three fourth-quarter possessions that reached Jefferson County territory.
Sacks and dropped passes cut the drives short.
In the first half, Jefferson County’s stingy defense held running back Jeremy Harden to 28 yards and the rest of the Wolfpack attack to minus-3 yards in a quick two quarters — the run-focused offenses meant each team had only four offensive possessions. However, Greenbrier needed just one huge play from its own defense to make it 6-6 at the half.
On the Warriors’ second pass attempt of the game, Wolfpack linebacker Clint Hardy gobbled up a pass for the interception and went untouched into the end zone for the 52-yard score.
After Jefferson County’s Will Jordan connected with Xavier Hawthorne to lead to the tying score, the Warriors’ defense remained in control to get the win.
“Those kids are strong,” Greenbrier coach Kevin Hunt said. “They just knocked us off the football.”