JOHNSON CITY—The Jefferson County football team had the opportunity Friday night to do something that it had not since 1994: secure first place in the region.

They failed to cash that in in a 37-0 loss to Science Hill (6-3, 3-0 Region 1-6A) at Steve Spurrier Field.

Both teams were undefeated in region play entering the matchup. It was a big rivalry game, and both teams knew what was at stake.

On the Patriots’ second drive of the game, sophomore quarterback Izaiah Hall was running on a scramble play and landed awkwardly when he was tackled. He had to be helped off the field and did not return.

“He’s gonna be out probably a couple of weeks,” Jeff County coach Spencer Riley said about his quarterback. “We’re really not quite sure exactly what all it entails.”

Riley said it is a right ankle injury, but they do not know the severity of it yet. Hall is having a breakout year in 2021. He has 1,224 passing yards and 15 touchdowns.

It was apparent that Jeff County lost a little bit of life when Hall went down. The Patriots’ defense had gotten a turnover on downs just before the injury, but was unable to stop the Hilltoppers the rest of the game.

“That just kind of let the air out of (the team),” Riley said. “We didn’t handle it very well. They’re not 37 points better than us.”

Jeff County’s defense was never able to find an answer to the Hilltoppers’ offense on Friday.

Science Hill quarterback Jaxon Diamond had 253 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Their offense also combined for 122 yards on the ground.

“We didn’t tackle. We didn’t tackle at all,” Riley said. “We didn’t run to the football, we didn’t do any of the things that we had done in the past. It was very disheartening there.”

The 37 points Science Hill scored on Friday are the most Jeff County has allowed this season. Previously, the most the Patriots had allowed in a district game was 21 points in their win against Dobyns-Bennett.

Jeff County has two games left in the regular season, and they may have to navigate them without their star quarterback.

That will not exactly be an easy task, but the Patriots know they have to be ready to work.

“It’s gotta be the next guy up type of mentality,” Riley said. “We’ve gotta come to work, we’ve gotta do the little things right. You’ve gotta execute better, you’ve gotta be cleaner and you’ve gotta do your job.”

At quarterback, that next man up will be Jace Dobbins.

He played every snap on Friday after Hall went down.

There were flashes of him being capable, including a 31-yard pass on the sideline to Kade Parker and several rushing attempts.

“(Dobbins) has gotta get some more reps in and he’ll be alright. We’ll have him ready for the Morristown West game,” Riley said.

Jeff County fell to 5-3 and 3-1 in Region 1-6A play.

They play Morristown West (5-4) in a non-region rivalry game next Friday befoer closing out the regular-season against region opponent West Ridge on the road in Week 11.

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