By CHARLIE CHITWOOD
The usual maxim pointed to by football coaches across America is that they expect to see the greatest game-by-game improvement from their teams to be made between the season opener and the next game. Coaches that came out on the short end of the stick in their first game hope that it holds true.
If the same can be applied to Antwain Jimmerson’s Bulldogs, then there’s going to be a lot of hoping around District 7-3A that the Dawgs will have some drop-off later in the year.
For the second time in as many weeks of the young season, Jefferson handled a good 4A football team – Center’s Roughriders – and improved to 2-0 with just two more non-district games to play. Arp’s Tigers are paying a visit to W. F. Lockett-Bulldog Stadium this week and can’t be relishing the trip.
The Dawgs showed that there are few teams that are going to run with them for the second straight week. Jefferson outgained the visiting Roughriders by more than 7 steps per carry – Jefferson’s total ending up at 422 yards on 46 totes. The critical play of the offensive line in giving ballcarriers a little daylight continues to boost confidence in the club’s ability and better yet, many of those same offensive linemen have turned into relentless pursuers on defense.
Dee Black has been nothing short of superb through the first two games in which he’s run for 365 yards on 35 totes, scoring a handful of touchdowns. The speedy junior has also been his quarterbacks’ best friend, even with a modest but team-leading four receptions for 43 yards.
Senior quarterback Trey Hodge’s injury handed Kylan Thomas the keys to the car and the junior has shown his own skill set, rushing for 322 yards while throwing for 116 yards on 11-of-18 pass attempts.
When an injury takes away any player, the mindset is supposed to be that of “next man up.” Jefferson’s simply loaded with speed and talent on offense. Add to that the blunt fist of a strong line and few are those that will look forward to facing the Dawgs on Friday nights.
Speaking of those upcoming opponents, only Hughes Springs and Mt. Vernon have managed wins in each game played. The Mustangs edged 4A Hamshire-Fannett 16-13 on opening night and last week rolled Arp, 46-6. Mt. Vernon The Purple Tigers in Mt. Vernon whipped Bonham 48-21 in their opener, but last week’s game against Farmersville was washed out and won’t be made up.
Hooks, Atlanta, Redwater and New Boston are all 0-2 against various levels of competition – Atlanta having lost it’s games to 4A powerhouse Gilmer, 47-41, and a surp[\rising Gladewater team, 37-20. New Boston has played the other way and lost to Paul Pewitt and then Buddy Griffin’ s DeKalb Bears, 20-0.
These new targeting rules whereby players are absolutely not allowed to lead their tackle with their helmet, is making for a busy night court with all of the infractions. It’s hard to find a game right now that doesn’t include some player getting ejected for making what was once seen as ferociously good tackling – even a punter got nicked by the rule in last week’s games. I expect the officials and players all will be used to what not to do and how to avoid it before long. As for it being an aggressive penalty, well, this IS football.
►Watch Charlie interview Jordan Friday, Cullen Mosley, and Camden Simpson about the Bulldogs’s 2-0 winning start to the season:
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