Calling it one of the most physical games this season, Coach Warren Kirk's Jay Bulldogs brought home a first round playoff win against Stigler on Friday, Nov. 10.
The Bulldogs kept Stigler from scoring until the last drive of the game. With less than 20 seconds remaining, Stigler players managed to put 7 points on the board, bringing the final score to 35-7.
Jay now faces Sperry, in the second round game, set for 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17, at home.
For Kirk, the win against Stigler was special, saying a playoff win is something his team has not accomplished in a "very long time."
"Stigler was a very good football team," Kirk said. "We came out and got after them from the start.
"The defense held Stigler under 100 yards until the last drive of the game, when we had a lot of underclassmen in.
"I was excited to get our run game going again and that’s only going to make us better on offense."
During the second half senior wide receiver/defensive back Keng Vang left the game and was transported by emergency personnel to INTEGRIS Grove Hospital for a dislocated right elbow.
Kirk said Vang's status for Friday will be a "game time decision," saying Vang is "about as good as [he] can be after" an injury.
Ultimately, Kirk said, his team is taking each opponent "one game at a time."
"[We're] trying to play our best football each week here on out," Kirk said. "[We're] telling the boys to stay focus and remember what got them to this point.
"We just need to stay focused and hit on the fundamentals that got us here - and to continue to prepare for a physical football game."
Kirk said Sperry is a "good football team."
"They play a physical style like us," he said. "They are very well coached and play the game the right way. It should be a great game."
Kirk said the support shown by students, staff and the community has been "unreal" for a high school team.
"It’s flat out awesome," Kirk said. "Our kids love the atmosphere and feed off the energy of playing at home. We certainly have a home field advantage.
"I told the coaches the other night I got chills when we ran out and the crowd was probably as loud as I’ve ever heard it."
Kirk said he's thrilled with his team and their performance this season.
"I’m just so proud of everything they’ve overcame this year," Kirk said. "The fight and never give in mentality is something I love.
"You know in life, it’s easy to give up, quit and walk away when things get hard.
"It takes tough people to continue to scratch and claw when things are hard and that’s what this team has done."
Ultimately, Kirk said, he hopes his team learns lessons from these wins that helps them them finish the season - and carry on into life.
"When something isn’t going your way, just keep pushing on and sooner or later it’s going to get better just like this football season," Kirk said. "I’m proud of reaching this point but we’re playing for more each game. We want to be practicing football Thanksgiving morning."
More about the game
For much of the game, the Bulldogs held off the Stigler players, keeping the team from scoring 7 points until the final 15 seconds of the game.
In the first quarter, Daylon Simpson made the first touchdown, from a 39 yard pass from his brother, Bulldog Quarterback Gabe Simpson. Adan Becerra scored the point after touchdown.
In the second quarter, Stormy Taylor made a touchdown with a one yard run, with Becerra scoring the PAT.
It was followed by a touchdown by Weaver Fisher, on a two yard run. Becerra followed with a PAT.
In the third quarter Taylor made a touchdown on a six yard run, with Becerra scoring a PAT.
The final Bulldog touchdown came made by Hunter King with a three yard run. Becerra brought the score to 35 with the PAT.