JAY - The Jay Bulldogs got off to a fast start and a big lead, then had to hold off a late Oologah comeback for a 40-30 win on Senior Night.
With the win, the Bulldogs clinched at least fourth place in District 4A-3 and a spot in the playoffs. Jay can secure third place in the district with a win at McLain next week.
Junior quarterback Shai Jones once again provided the bulk of the offense for Jay (5-4, 4-2 in District 4A-3), running for 209 yards on 28 carries while completing 10-of-15 passes for an additional 186 yards and accounting three total touchdowns. Jones outdueled Oologah quarterback Zach Cantwell, who threw for 293 yards and a pair of scores.
The game looked to be a blowout early on as Jay scored touchdowns on their first four possessions to take a 27-3 with 4:26 left in the first half.
Jones got things started with a 43-yard run on the game's first play from scrimmage, then found Izaack Wilson over the middle with a 19-yard completion to convert a fourth-and-9 four plays later. Hayden White ran for the final 12 yards for the first of his three touchdowns.
After a three-and-out by the Mustangs, Jay took over on the Oologah 46 and went right back to work. Jones ran for 12 yards and found Trent Slaughter with a pass for 12 more. Seven runs in a row followed with White cashing in from three yards out for a 14-0 Bulldog advantage.
After Oologah (3-6, 2-5) got on the board with a field goal, the Bulldogs took over on the Mustang 30. This time Jones found Wilson for a 14-yard completion to convert a third-and-5 across midfield, then followed with a 41-yard completion to move the ball to the one-yard line. Jones snuck it in on the next play for a 20-3 Jay lead.
After another three-and-out by the Mustangs, Jones struck again with a 47-yard touchdown run to make it 27-3.
Oologah would finally get their offensive footing late in the half, scoring a pair of quick touchdowns to get back in the game. Facing a fourth-and-6 from their own 44, Cantwell found Dalton Barnes with a screen pass in the middle of the field. Barnes then dodged five would-be tacklers on his way to a 54-yard gain. J.W. Thomas scored from two yards out on the next play to make the score 27-10.
After a three-and-out by Jay gave Oologah the ball at midfield, Thomas made quick work of another drive, first throwing a 29-yard pass to Barnes, then taking a 15-yard screen pass himself for Oologah's second touchdown in less than two minutes.
Jay would seem to get their footing back in the third quarter. After forcing an Oologah punt, the Bulldogs took over at their own 16. This time Jones would lead the offense with his arm, finding White on a deep pass down the seam for a 29-yard completion. Two plays later, Jones found Stephen Tanner for a 15-yard completion on third down. Four plays later, Jones found Tanner again for a 32-yard touchdown over the middle on fourth down to make it 34-17 with four minutes left in the third.
Cantwell would immediately answer with four straight completions to cover 64 yards in just over a minute to get the Mustangs back within 10 points.
The Bulldogs would then stop two consecutive Oologah drives deep in their own territory. The first ended with an interception by JJ Meeker of a Cantwell pass at the Bulldog 21. The second was stopped on fourth down at the Jay 17.
But it was immediately after that second stop that a huge Bulldog turnover would nearly ruin Jay's entire effort. A high shotgun snap went through Jones's hands and eventually into the end zone, where it was recovered by the Mustangs for a touchdown. The extra point was missed, making it 34-30 with 5:01 left in the game.
Jones would come up with one final big play to put the game away. Facing third-and-9 from his own 28, Jones took off on a quarterback draw for 50 yards to the Oologah 22. Four plays later, White would score from a yard out with 1:13 left for the final margin.