By SHELIA LANGBARTELS, O.D.
Jefferson fans have become accustomed to their Bulldogs scoring early and scoring often. They had to wait a little longer than usual on Friday night, but the Dawgs did indeed score often in a 41-22 Bi-District win over the Mineola Yellowjackets.
The first quarter saw a lot of action, but no scoring, as a fumble in the red zone by Jefferson and a series of false starts by Mineola kept both teams out of the end zone. Mineola’s first offensive drive of the second quarter resulted in a punt, and Jefferson took over on their own 37-yard line. Several rushes by Dee Black put the Dawgs on the Mineola 21-yard line. Quarterback Trey Hodge then completed a pass to T.Q. Jackson for a Bulldog touchdown. Landon Fuquay’s PAT was good, and Jefferson took the lead, 7-0, with 4:58 left in the second quarter. On their next possession, Mineola answered with a touchdown of their own, and the score was tied 7-7 with 1:20 left in the half. After the Mineola kickoff, the Dawgs started on their own 16; Hodge completed 2 passes to K’Von Smith for 45 yards, and then another to Jackson to get the Bulldogs into the red zone. A quarterback keeper and then a pass to Kylan Thomas put Jefferson inside the 10. Black then scored on a 6-yard run, and Fuquay tacked on the point-after with only 22 seconds left on the clock. The Bulldogs took a 14-7 lead into halftime.
A failed onside kick attempt by Mineola gave the Dawgs great field position near midfield to begin the third quarter. A pass to Jackson and rushes by Black and Hodge got the Bulldogs to the 11-yard line, where Hodge completed another TD pass to Jackson. Fuquay added a PAT for a 21-7 lead with 8:20 left in the third quarter. After the kickoff, Dylan Polver and Brennan Varnell made key tackles to bring up 3 & 12 for Mineola. On the next play, Tyler Cherry pressured the Yellowjacket quarterback, forcing him to throw a wild pass, which was picked off by Trace Smith. The Dawgs drove inside the 1-yard line, but fumbled a handoff on the next play. Mineola recovered the fumble and began driving down the field when time ran out in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Mineola scored a touchdown on a 7-yard pass play. The two-point conversion was good, and the Dawgs’ lead was shrunk to 21-15. Mineola attempted another onside kick, but it was recovered by Trace Smith on the Bulldog 46-yard line. Jefferson came back and immediately scored on a 54-yard touchdown run by Black. Fuquay’s PAT stretched the Dawg lead to 28-15 with 10:37 left in the game. The Yellowjackets received the kickoff and proceeded to burn up over five minutes of clock on their way to another touchdown, making the score 28-22. Mineola attempted another onside kick, but it was once again recovered by Trace Smith. The Bulldogs started with a short field on the Yellowjacket 49, and Black showed his elusiveness once again with a 44-yard rush to put the Dawgs in scoring position. Hodge handed off to Jackson for a 5-yard touchdown carry, and the Bulldog lead increased to 34-22 with 4:01 left in the game. After an unsuccessful 2-point conversion attempt, Jefferson kicked off to the Yellowjackets. A couple penalties and incomplete passes put Mineola in a 4th down and 20 situation with only 3:35 left in the game. The Yellowjacket quarterback dropped back to attempt a pass, but Jefferson’s Jackson intercepted the ball. The Bulldogs began a drive that resulted in a 34-yard rushing TD by K’Von Smith. Fuquay continued his perfect PAT kicking for the evening, and the Dawgs were ahead 41-22 with 1:06 left in the game. After the kickoff, Mineola tried to find a little life, but they were stopped by Jackson, who intercepted his second pass in three minutes. The Jefferson Bulldogs (11-0) became Bi-District Champions with a final score of 41-22.
The Bulldogs racked up 488 total yards (308 rushing and 180 passing) in the matchup. Trey Hodge was 8/13 passing and threw for 2 touchdowns. Both TDs were caught by T.Q. Jackson, who also rushed for 1 touchdown. Jackson finished the night with 126 yards on 6 receptions and 5 rushing yards on 1 carry. Dee Black was the leading rusher with 205 yards and 2 touchdowns. K’Von Smith carried for 63 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, T.Q. Jackson had 5 solo tackles and 2 interceptions. Trace Smith had 10 tackles and 1 interception. Brennan Varnell was a force with 25 tackles, 4 for loss, and Kannon Glover had 24 tackles, 1 for loss. Malik Cannon totaled 19 tackles (15 solo and 1 TFL), Lyrik Rawls had 12, and Dylan Griffin had 10.
Jefferson will meet up with Malakoff in the Area round of the playoffs next Friday, November 23, at 2:00 P.M. The game will be played at Meredith Memorial Stadium in Mineola.
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