The temperatures hovered near freezing during Friday night’s battle between Jefferson and South Lakes, making each hit sting that much more. But Patrick O’Connor, fueled by adrenaline and a potential playoff berth for the Colonials, seemed numb to it all.
The senior tailback brushed off the cold and plenty of South Lakes’s defenders en route to 215 rushing yards and three touchdowns during Jefferson’s 36-0 win in Reston. The Colonials’ (6-4) playoff fate now rests on the outcome of Saturday’s contest between Langley and McLean. Should McLean lose, Jefferson will have secured its first postseason berth since 2008.
“It was a little chilly, but we were all just focused on doing our jobs and getting in position to hopefully make the playoffs,” O’Connor said. “We came in this year with a new focus and a great group of guys, and it’s showed.”
This renewed attitude surfaced on both sides of the ball on Friday. Led by O’Connor, the Colonials totaled 320 yards on the ground while the defense held South Lakes (3-7) to just 176 total yards to go with a blocked punt and three interceptions.
Still, South Lakes had plenty of chances to spoil Jefferson’s playoff push. Twice the Seahawks (3-7) drove into the red zone in the first quarter and twice Jefferson intercepted passes in the end zone.
Following the second interception, the Colonials marched 80 yards — mostly on O’Connor carries — before the senior ran in from seven yards out to put Jefferson up 7-0 midway through the second quarter.
The second half played out in a similar fashion for Jones, who was held to just 157 total yards following a seven-touchdown outburst against Marshall last week. As a team, the Seahawks managed just three first downs in the second half.
“Jones and Parker are such great athletes, so we knew we had to contain them all night if we wanted to position ourselves to win,” Colonials Coach Ken Kincaid said. “Our guys did a good job of putting pressure on Jones and setting up our offense.”
O’Connor took advantage of the prime field position provided by Jefferson’s defense, ripping off a 48-yard run on the first play of the second half to set up a Rashad Laher score. One quarter later, O’Connor ran in from 12 and two yards out to put the game out of reach.