By SHELIA LANGBARTELS, O.D.
The Hughes Springs Mustangs made the short trip over to Jefferson to take on the Bulldogs Friday night. Despite the short distance, it was probably a long bus ride home for the Mustangs. The Bulldog offense was as explosive as ever, and the Dawg defense held Hughes Springs to only one score.
Hughes Springs received the opening kickoff and quickly picked up a first down. On the next set of downs, Kannon Glover and Eric Gipson each had a tackle for loss to force a Mustang punt. The very short punt gave the Bulldogs excellent field position on the Mustang 40-yard line. Quarterback Kylan Thomas immediately scored a touchdown on a 40-yard keeper. Landon Fuquay added a PAT to give the Dawgs a 7-0 lead with 8:33 left in the first.
After the kickoff, Hughes Springs began moving the ball down the field pretty effectively. Thanks to a couple of Mustang penalties and sacks by Glover and Gipson, Hughes Springs was forced to punt. On the next series, the Bulldogs picked up a couple of penalties of their own, calling back two touchdown runs by Dee Black. The first quarter ended with the Bulldogs on top, 7-0.
In the second quarter, Trey Hodge, who has been out for the past 5 weeks with a clavicle injury, resumed his role as quarterback. After he found Kylan Thomas on a long pass play, the Bulldogs were deep in Mustang territory. Dee Black rushed for a 27-yard touchdown, and Fuquay tacked on a PAT to increase the Dawgs’ lead to 14-0 with 7:40 left in the half. Hughes Springs began moving the ball again, but key tackles for no gain by Glover, Tyler Cherry, and Dillon Griffin stalled their efforts.
Trace Smith stuck the rusher before the line-to-gain on third down, but the Mustangs went for it on fourth down. The defense held on, and the ball was turned over on downs. The Bulldog offense quickly went back to work, and Hodge connected with TQ Jackson for a touchdown pass. Fuquay’s PAT made the score 21-0 with a little over 3 minutes left in the first half. Hughes Springs began another drive, but thanks to a pass broken up by Bryson Johnson and a sack by Malik Cannon, they were unable to find the end zone. The Dawgs took a 21-0 lead into the locker room.
The Bulldog offense scored quickly on the first play of the third quarter. Only eleven seconds into the half, Thomas threw a pass to Kenneth Bell, who picked up some nice yardage on his way to the end zone. Following Fuquay’s PAT, the Bulldogs expanded their lead to 28-0. After a sustained drive, Hughes Springs finally found their way onto the scoreboard, and with 7:36 left in the third, the score was 28-7. With Jefferson back on offense, Hodge scooted into the end zone to give the Dawgs a 35-7 advantage. Following a strong Dawg defensive stand, the Mustangs were forced to punt. Jackson received the punt and weaved down the field for a touchdown, giving Jefferson a 41-7 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was riddled with penalty markers, and three Jefferson touchdowns were called back, one by K’Von Smith and two by Malik Cannon. All three potential touchdowns, along with 5 penalties, were in the same set of downs. The Dawgs punted, and Hughes Springs made a run for the end zone with less than a minute left in the game. The play was stopped by Cannon, and the game ended with Jefferson bettering their record to 6-0, 2-0 in district.
As usual, the Bulldog offense was fast and virtually uncontrollable. They racked up 484 yards (308 rushing and 176 passing). Hodge completed 5 of 7 passes, and had 2 carries for 14 yards, including a touchdown. Kylan Thomas rushed for 112 yards and had 56 yards receiving. TQ Jackson caught 2 balls for 86 yards and a touchdown, and also added touchdown on a punt return. Kenneth Bell caught 1 for 54 yards and a TD. Dee Black rushed for an even 100 yards on 5 carries, and had a touchdown.
On defense, the Dawgs allowed 262 yards on the ground, and the secondary allowed only 12 yards through the air. Trace Smith was on fire with 13 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 QB hurries, and a pass break up. Lyrik Rawls and Bryson Johnson showed out with 12 tackles each, and Brennan Varnell, the Dawgs’ leading tackler for the season, had 15 for the night. Kannon Glover had a great defensive night with 16 tackles, 2 for loss. Malik Cannon was all over the field with 13 tackles (3 for loss), 1 sack and 1 QB pressure. Eric Gipson harassed the entire offense all night with 11 tackles (3 for loss), 2 sacks, and 2 pressures.
Next Friday, October 12, Jefferson will travel to Mt. Vernon to take on the 4-1, 1-0 Tigers in what is sure to be a fantastic district showdown. The Bulldogs are averaging over 48 points per game, while Mt. Vernon averages 32 per game. The defenses are a little more evenly matched, with Jefferson allowing an average of 10.5 points per game, and Mt. Vernon allowing 15.2. However, the Bulldog defense in the past three games has only allowed 14 points, while Mt. Vernon has allowed 55. It should be a heck of a game!
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