By SHELIA LANGBARTELS, O.D.
The Jefferson Bulldogs once again said, “4A? No way!” as they defeated North Lamar in Paris on Thursday night. The Bulldogs drew a great crowd, who traveled almost two hours to cheer on their undefeated team, despite the game being moved to Thursday in anticipation of severe weather on Friday. This game was homecoming for North Lamar, but their fans didn’t have much to celebrate, as the Bulldogs came to town and delivered a 54-7 thrashing of the home team.
The teams were barely out of the locker room before Jefferson started scoring. With less than a minute elapsed, Kylan Thomas scored on a 39-yard quarterback keeper to put the Dawgs on the board. Landon Fuquay added a PAT to give Jefferson the 7-0 advantage with 11:09 remaining in the 1st quarter. After a strong defensive showing, the Bulldogs were back on offense. Thomas quickly found TQ Jackson for an impressive 46-yard touchdown pass. Fuquay’s PAT made the score 14-0 with 9:01 left in the 1st quarter. Following another fine defensive stop, the Panthers punted, and the Bulldogs found themselves backed up to their own 10-yard line. Dee Black took care of business on the first play of the series with a spectacular 90-yard run to the end zone. Fuquay tacked on the PAT to extend the Dawgs’ lead to 21-0 with 5:23 left in the 1st.
On the ensuing kickoff, Malik Cannon mauled the returner deep in Panther territory. Less than a minute and a half later, Brennan Varnell recovered a North Lamar fumble and toted it 25 yards into the end zone. With a PAT by Fuquay, the Bulldog lead grew to 28-0 with 3:59 left in the 1st. The North Lamar fans were probably ready for this quarter to be over, but the Dawgs weren’t finished with it. With 1:51 remaining, Thomas completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Lyrik Rawls for yet another Dawg touchdown. Fuquay’s PAT gave the Bulldogs a 35-0 lead going into the 2nd quarter of play.
Jefferson’s ground game was strong in the 2nd quarter, with runs by Eric Gipson, K’von Smith, Black, and Thomas. This set up Dee Black for a 10-yard touchdown run, giving JHS a 41-to-zip lead with 7:58 left in the half. On the next set of downs, the Bulldog defense dominated the Panthers and forced a punt from deep in Panther territory. Trace Smith blocked the punt, scooped it up, and ran it in for the touchdown. Fuquay’s PAT increased the Jefferson lead to 48-0. North Lamar finally got on the board with a TD pass with less than 30 seconds left in the half, cutting the Dawgs’ lead to 48-7 at halftime.
The timekeeper mercifully kept the clock running continuously in the second half to put North Lamar out of their misery a little more quickly. The Bulldogs scored once more in the game, and that came on a 17-yard run by Malik Cannon with 2:41 left in the 3rd. The final score was Bulldogs 54, Panthers 7.
Quarterback Kylan “Juice” Thomas ended up with 5/6 completions (83%) for 135 yards and 2 TDs, and he covered 82 yards on the ground for 1 TD. Receiver TQ Jackson caught 3 balls for 124 yards and 1 TD, averaging an astounding 41.3 yards per catch. Rushing leaders were Dee Black with 134 yards on 5 totes and 1 TD, and Malik Cannon with 3 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown.
Defensive standouts were: Kannon Glover (16 tackles, 2 for loss), Tyler Cherry (11 tackles), and Brennan Varnell (12 tackles and a fumble recovery for a TD).
The Bulldogs (4-0) will begin District 7-3A play next Friday night in New Boston at 7:30 p.m.
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