By CHARLIE CHITWOOD
Jefferson beats Pittsburg, 44-35. But for the number of points, wouldn’t this pretty much sum up every Bulldog ballgame against Camp County’s Buccos?
That the Dawgs could knock off a pretty good Class 4A squad in their opener sends a message out to area coaches – Antwain Jimmerson is loaded with talented skill-position players and now he has some beef-on-the-hoof that can get the job done in the trenches.
Even if your roster is slimmer in numbers than an opponent’s, your depth has to be as strong or stronger than the other guy’s when it gets late in the third and on to the fourth quarters. The Dawgs got a little out-numbered in the trenches late, but by then they already had the Pirates at the end of a plank. Dee Black’s 54-yard bolt with 1:22 left in the game was the last poke that put Pittsburg in the drink.
Jefferson’s defensive front proved to be a blunting force and came up with eight tackles in the Pirate backfield and 40 of the Dawgs 130 collected tackles. That front line repeatedly slowed down Pittsburg’s running attack and limited the Pirates to 4.4 yards per carry – only 215 yards on nearly 50 carries.
Offensively, the Jefferson line found a way. Holes opened up left and right for Dee Black and Kylan Thomas, who together pinballed their way past the Pirate defense for 331 yards on 23 carries – pretty much exactly 10 yards more per carry than Jefferson’s defense allowed.
The similarity between this year’s squad and the 2017 bunch is that these Dawgs can score in a hurry. Jefferson didn’t need the ball long (46 offensive snaps, not counting punts) to put up 42 points (the other two coming on a safety). Pittsburg, meanwhile, had to slug it out against that Jefferson line and had the ball for 29 more plays – and STILL couldn’t manage more on the scoreboard. A bend-but-don’t-break defense? Not a bad one to have, especially as it’s a fair assumption to make that it will become more rigid when district play begins.
So what about Center’s Roughriders? Jefferson last had regular-season games against the purple-clads back in the early 1990’s. The Dawgs lost in Center in 1992, but repaid the ‘Riders by whipping them in W.F. Lockett-Bulldog Stadium in 1993. Want some stars from those teams? Young John Flowers was at tight end for Jerry Bennett while Tim “T-Dawg” Duffy was at the helm of the ’93 squad. One of Jefferson’s all-time greatest running backs – certainly with more rushing yards than any other Bulldog back in history – didn’t even join the team until district play started in 1992. Timmy “Red” Holt was on his way to becoming one of the Dawgs’ most electrifying receivers while some big kid named Bobbie Joe Williams was part of a growing line.
Trips in the way back machine are always fun. It’ll be a blast to see some kids make their own mark against the pride of Shelby County.
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