By SHELIA LANGBARTELS, O.D.
When the Jefferson Bulldogs put up a score of 62-0, the offense is definitely doing their job. However, if you take a look at the other number in the score (0), you will see that the defense is just as formidable.
The Bulldog offense gained 341 yards, while the stingy defense held New Boston to a mere 19 yards of total offense. And let’s not forget about the unsung heroes of the night: Jefferson’s special teams unit. The Bulldog punt returners kept the offense in favorable starting position the entire night, and Dee Black returned one punt for a touchdown. Landon Fuquay was 8/9 on PATs, and his kickoffs were straight and deep. On the kickoffs, the Dawgs were quick down the field to pin New Boston deep in their own territory. Coach Antwain Jimmerson has a very balanced team on his hands this year.
The Bulldogs started District 7-3A play with a bang in New Boston. The Dawg defense showed their mettle early, as Eric Gipson sacked the New Boston QB on the first series, forcing a punt. Jefferson took over with great field position on the New Boston 44-yard line. Dee Black added a couple of nice rushes, before Kylan Thomas connected with TQ Jackson for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 7:33 left in the first quarter. Landon Fuquay added a PAT to put Jefferson in the lead 7-0.
On New Boston’s next possession, the Bulldog defense held tight, with tackles by Brennan Varnell and Tyler Cherry. The Lions punted on 4th and 11, and Jefferson’s offense took over near midfield. After a bruising run by Thomas, Jefferson was in Lion territory, setting up a 28-yard dash to the end zone by Black. With no PAT, the Bulldogs increased their lead to 13-0 with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Things did not get better for the Lions’ offense on the next series, as Lyrik Rawls forced a fumble, which was recovered by Bryson Johnson. Jefferson eventually punted (the first of only two punts the entire evening for the Dawgs), and backed the Lions up inside their own 5. Bryson Johnson notched another takeaway, this time an interception, deep in Lion Land. With Jefferson back on offense, Eric Gipson quickly took the ball over the goal line for the third Bulldog TD of the night. Fuquay’s PAT was good, and Jefferson ended the first quarter 20-0.
Early in the second quarter, Jefferson’s defense forced yet another Lion punt, which Rawls returned to his own 48-yard line. Black was unstoppable on first and second downs, taking the second rush in for a 45-yard touchdown. Fuquay stuck the PAT to give the Bulldogs a 27-0 advantage. On the ensuing kickoff, the returner was downed by Johnson on the New Boston 25. A bruising tackle by Varnell and a sack by Gipson brought up 3rd and 22 for the Lions. Johnson stopped the third down play, forcing another New Boston punt.
On Jefferson’s next offensive series, Thomas again found Jackson for a spectacular 57-yard touchdown pass. Fuquay added a PAT to make the score 34-0 with 3:00 left in the first half. Special teams once again showed their dominance, as Kenneth Bell downed the kickoff returner on the Lion 20-yard line. Trace Smith made an astounding one-handed interception late in the quarter and took it to the end zone for yet another Bulldog TD. Fuquay tacked on a PAT to give the Bulldogs a 41-0 lead at halftime.
The Dawgs came out firing in the third quarter, with Thomas taking a QB keeper to the New Boston 8, setting up first and goal. Black got the pigskin and took it into the end-zone, and Fuquay’s PAT was good. With 8:39 left in the third, Jefferson’s lead was 48-0. On New Boston’s next possession, Kannon Glover made a key tackle behind the line of scrimmage on a 3rd and 15 play to force a NB punt. Black returned the punt 40 yards for the Bulldog’s eighth touchdown of the evening. The timekeeper began running the clock continuously at this point, and Fuquay increased the Bulldog lead to 55-0 to end the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Lions crossed the 50-yard line for the first time in the game, but a sack by Trace Smith knocked them back into Dawg territory. The ball was turned over to the Bulldogs on downs, and Tybo Williams took the ball into the red zone on 2 incredible rushes. Rawls, now in at quarterback, called his own number for a 4-yard touchdown run. Fuquay added another PAT to make the final score 62-0.
Kylan Thomas finished the night with 86 yards passing (2 touchdowns) and 56 yards rushing. Dee Black had 122 yards on the ground (4 touchdowns), and Tybo Williams had 56. TQ Jackson was the lone receiver with 3 receptions for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, Trace Smith had 7 solo tackles, 3 for loss. He also hurried the quarterback once and had a pick 6. Lyrik Rawls had 5 tackles and forced a fumble. Eric Gipson was a force with 8 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks, and 2 QB pressures. Brennan Varnell and Kannon Glover turned up the heat with 13 tackles each, and Maurice Williams made 7 tackles, 2 for loss. Bryson Johnson was a key player on defense, making 4 tackles and grabbing 2 turnovers (a fumble and an interception).
Jefferson sits atop the district rankings with a stellar 5-0, 1-0 record. The Bulldogs will take on Hughes Springs (2-3, 0-1) for their Homecoming on Friday, October 5 at home. Pre-game festivities start at 7:00 P.M.
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