It was a battle royale of the Bulldogs on Friday, Sept. 29, as the Jay Bulldogs faced off against district favorites Lincoln Christian Bulldogs under the lights of the JB Earp stadium.
In the end - after four overtimes - the Jay Bulldogs emerged victorious over the Lincoln Christian team 70 to 67.
“Anytime you can beat a team like Lincoln Christian it is good for your confidence and your momentum,” said Jay Football Coach Warren Kirk.
"We went in at half time with a 29-point lead against a very good football team. We came out a little flat in the second half where Lincoln Christian came out with their backs against the wall.
“They played fast and got after it. We need to learn that the football game is not over until it is over. Having a game go like this one did is good going forward.”
Jay jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter when quarterback Gabe Simpson found younger brother Daylon Simpson open for a 15 yard touchdown pass, followed by Keng Vang’s two-point went up 8-0.
Gabe Simpson then found Brenden Ryan on a 19 yard pass, and with the PAT by Adam Becerra, Jay led 15 to 0.
Lincoln Christian emerged on the scoreboard before the end of the quarter with a 37 yard pass cutting the lead to 15 to 7 going into the second quarter.
The second quarter was all Jay, as the team scored three touchdowns in the period.
Vang scored on a four yard run with Becerra making the kick following and Jay moved out to a 22-7 advantage.
A Gabe Simpson 11 yard run and Becerra kick put the hometown Bulldogs up 29-7 before Dalton Tanner hauled in a 55 yard pass for touchdown and Jay went 36-7 into the half.
The third quarter began and as did the comeback by Lincoln Christian.
The visiting Bulldogs scored four straight touchdowns on runs of eight and 12 yards as well as two passes for 15 and 12 yards.
Lincoln was successful on the PAT’s on the first three scores and the two-point conversion on the final one to tie the game at 36 all going into the fourth quarter.
Jay took the lead 43 to 36 in the fourth quarter off a two-yard run from Daylon Simpson. But Lincoln Christian answered with a four-yard pass for a score and the game ended in regulation tied 43 to 43.
In overtime each team got the football at the 10 yard line and had four plays to score in.
Jay got the football first in the first overtime and capitalized with a 10-yard scoring pass to Ryan. Lincoln Christian answered with a two-yard run for the score and the game was tied at 50 all.
A five yard run from Lincoln Christian in the second overtime game them a 57 to 50 lead but Jay answered when they got the football with a 10 yard scoring pass from Gabe Simpson to Tanner sending the game to another overtime.
Gabe Simpson put Jay up 64 to 57 in the third overtime with a scoring run of five yards and Becerra was good on the kick. But once again Lincoln Christian answered with a two yard run.
The game headed to the fourth overtime and Lincoln Christian got the football first.
But this time Jay held them out of the end zone for three plays forcing them to kick a field goal. Lincoln Christian led 67 to 64.
Jay ended the three and a half hour game came to an end - and the sidelines erupted into cheers - as Gabe Simpson found little brother Daylon Simpson for an eight yard touchdown pass for the score.
Jay's celebration had to stop long enough for the team to attempt the extra point, which was no good.
In the end, Jay finished with the win in quadruple overtime.
Kirk described the overtimes as a roller coaster of emotions, as he watched his team pass the lead back and forth with Lincoln Christian.
"It was a great feeling when I realized finally it was over,” said Kirk. “I was very happy with the win.
"I was a little disappointed we let them come back and score that many points after halftime. The kids have got to learn to go and finish a team off especially a good team like Lincoln Christian who can score points in a hurry. We have to learn to finish the game.
“[But] our kids could have laid down after letting them come back. [Instead] they rose to occasion in the fourth quarter and overtime. They fought back, fought through the adversity and came up with the win."
With the 5-1 record and a 2-0 record in Class 3A-7 including wins over two of the preseason favorites. Kirk still believes his team has not see its best playing days.
“I still don’t think we have played a complete game yet. Don’t think we have played our game yet," Kirk said. "We will have to do that here on out. We have four district games left against four good football games and see how good we can really be."
A look at stats
Gabe Simpson led team with 219 yards passing and threw six touchdown passes. He also rushed for 77 yards and scored two touchdowns on the ground.
Tanner and Daylon Simpson both had 65 yards in receptions and caught two touchdown passes while Ryan also had two grabs for scores with 40 yards in receptions.
On defense Hunter King led the team with nine tackles while Vang had seven stops. Kobe Sixkiller had a fumble recovery for the Bulldogs on defense.
Jay goes into the Class 3A-7 game with Westville, tied with Keys and Tahlequah Sequoyah with a 2-0 record in the district standings.
The Yellowjackets have the opposite record as Jay, coming into the game 1-5 overall and 0-2 in the district.
Kirk believes Westville's scores may not indicate the level of their skills.
"They have a good group of seniors and have players that can make plays," Kirk said. "We are going to have to go down there and play football Friday night.
"We can’t have a let down after a big victory. We have to go hook up and go fight for everything we get."
Westville’s lone win was a 41-34 win over Kansas. They have dropped games to Stigler, Lincoln, Arkansas, Colcord, Keys and Tahlequah Sequoyah.
Game time in Westville is 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6.