For the second consecutive week, the Jefferson Dragons did what might seem unthinkable: They lost a 21-0 lead and then went on to lose the game.
This time it came against Hillsborough, which came back with a vengeance to steal a 36-28 victory in an important Class 6A-District 8 game Friday night.
One week earlier in another 6A-8 game, Armwood rallied from a 21-0 deficit to beat Jefferson 35-21.
"It's frustrating because we know we are a good football team," Jefferson coach Jeremy Earle said. "We're young and we need to learn how to finish. We'll get there. We will."
Earle might be rethinking a couple of decisions, including a pass play he called just before halftime that was intercepted by the Terriers' Anthony King and returned to Jefferson's 11-yard line.
Two plays later, with 24 seconds on the clock, Hillsborough quarterback Dwayne Lawson ran 9 yards for a touchdown to give the Terriers a 22-21 lead —- a lead that Hillsborough would never give up.
"We have confidence in our offense and we like to be aggressive, but maybe that's one I shouldn't have called," Earle said. "(Throwing the interception) before halftime I'll put on me."
According to Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia, the Terriers (5-0, 3-0 6A-8) showed a lot of character when they successfully rallied after being down 21-0 and having to wait through a 45-minute rain and lightning delay.
"During the rain delay (which started with the Terriers trailing 14-0) there was no yelling or panicking or anything," said Garcia, who with the win assured himself a winning regular season for the 20th consecutive year.
"We just made some adjustments, told our kids to keep plugging away, and then we came out and played much better. I couldn't be more proud of them."
The biggest boost of confidence likely went to Hillsborough quarterback Dwayne Lawson, who had thrown three interceptions in his first five attempts, two of which led directly to Jefferson scores. Lawson, however, was steady the rest of the game, completing four of his final five passes, including a 20-yard touchdown toss to Curtis Thomas midway through the fourth quarter to give the Terriers a 36-21 lead.
On the ground, the Terriers' Jeremiah Green (10 carries, 89 yards) and Nigel Harris (11 carries, 56 yards) also provided plenty of spark.
Jefferson quarterback Deiondre Porter also shined in the losing effort, completing 12 of 22 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns.
For Jefferson (1-4, 0-3) the loss concludes a tough stretch — losing to Plant, Armwood and Hillsborough in consecutive weeks.