Jay took its first step toward a playoff berth and a possible quest for a district title with a 31-14 win over Inola on the road Friday, Sept. 22.

“We played pretty well at Inola Friday night,” said Coach Warren Kirk. “I was a big win over a good football team.”

Jay opened the scoring with a 31-yar Adam Becerra field goal in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead.

Inola answered later in the quarter with a four-yard run from their running back Lance Jones and with the two-point conversion led 8-3 after the first quarter.

Jay jumped out to take lead after senior Dalton Tanner caught a 35-yard pass from quarterback Gabe Simpson. Simpson then threw a two-point conversion pass to his younger brother Daylon and Jay was up 11-8 - a lead the team would never relinquish.

The Bulldogs added another score before half time when lineman converted to running back John Culver burst through the Longhorn defense and scored on a 34-yard touchdown run. Becerra was good on the kick and Jay led 18-8 at half time.

“On offense we were able to run the football and stayed with it. Defensively we played well holding a high scoring team to 14 points,” Kirk said.

Inola scored first after half time with a nine-yard pass. The kick failed and the score read 18-14 Bulldogs still in front.

A Keng Vang four yard touchdown run and Becerra kick moved Jay out to 25-14 at the end of the third before Tanner put the icing on the cake with an eight yard run Becerra’s kick failed and the scoring was finished for the game.

“Starting district play 1-0 was a big for us moving forward,” said Kirk.

Jay finished with 19 first downs and 410 total yards in the game. The Bulldogs had 276 yards rushing while Simpson was 9-12 passing for 134 and a touchdown. They held Inola to 10 first downs and 261 total yards.

What’s next?

The Bulldogs host the pre-season favorite Lincoln Christian Academy out of Tulsa at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30, at home, for the second game in the district seven competition.

The Lincoln Christian Bulldogs are an uncharacteristic 1-3 on the season. However the losses have come from Class 3A number one Jones, Class 2A third ranked Holland Hall and Class 3A, 10th ranked and district opponent Tahlequah Sequoyah in overtime.

Their lone win came over Seminole who was ranked earlier in the season in Class 3A.

“Their record shows they are 1-3 but they have a really tough schedule with all four team ranked in the top ten at some point this season,” said Kirk. “We need to be ready to from the start of the game and set the tone of the game with physical play.”

Quarterback Chase Ricke who has completed 75-118 passes for 1,092 yards and eight touchdowns in four games leads Lincoln Christian.

Ricke has thrown two interceptions. His top receiver is Adler Isbell who has 32 catches for 453 yards and six touchdowns. Fellow receiver Sam Brueggemann has 24 catches for 420 yards and one touchdown.

On defense Lincoln Christian has two players Tyson Ward and Zack Moore with 50 tackles in four games.

“We need to establish the run and be the physical team Friday night. If we can run the ball on them that opens up our passing game down the field for the big plays,” Kirk said. “Our defense needs to be locked in by seeing formations and motions. We need to play assignment football on defense and cause some turnovers to win.”

Game time is 7 p.m. at J.B. Earp Stadium in Jay.