An old axiom states that it doesn’t matter where you begin it only matters where you finish.
A promising beginning Friday night at Earp Stadium for the Jay Bulldogs turned out to be only a beginning while a relentless Pryor ground game, good for over 350 yards on the night, saw the visitors take a 23-21 win.
The first snap from scrimmage had JHS quarterback Brandon Edge find receiver John Davenport for a 61-yard touchdown pass. The Casey Loomis extra-point made it a 7-0 Bulldog lead with just 14 seconds erased from the clock.
But the Tigers clawed back.
Their first possession was turned away at the Jay 16-yard line on an incomplete pass after a fourth and five gamble. The drive, which lasted almost seven minutes and saw PHS convert four first downs, went for naught but the Tigers made good on their second crack.
Starting from their own 36 yard line with just less than four minutes left in the first quarter the Tigers put together a five play march that ended with a Dakota Cox rushing score from 11 yards out with 1:21 to spare in the frame. The meat of the sandwich was a 59-yard burst from running back L.B. Watkins.
Pryor’s first possession of the second quarter netted a field goal. Senior Matt Ogg made good from 34 yards out following a 58-yard procession fueled by another long dash from Watkins- this one for 41 yards.
The ensuing Bulldog possession was a quick one. A fumble after the first snap- recovered by senior defensive back Brady Jorboe- allowed PHS to set up shop with a short 21-yard field.
Three plays later Tiger quarterback Evan McCollough called his own number from a yard out to place PHS ahead 16-7. Place kicker Ogg lost his footing on the PAT attempt, which sailed wide right.
The Bulldog offense was looking to make amends on their next possession. Aided by a short kick and a Tiger personal foul penalty, Jay landed at the PHS 19 yard line. The lunge was turned away when defensive back Dalton Burchett intercepted an Edge pass in the end zone with just over three minutes remaining in the first half.
JHS was as tenacious as their namesake, however, and the Tigers second play on the ensuing possession ended with a Kyle Shambaugh interception.
Now only 16 yards from the Pryor goal line the Bulldogs overcame two quarterback sacks to post six on the board when Edge found running back Bubba Baker from ten yards out with 24 seconds remaining in the half. The Loomis PAT made it a 16-14 Pryor lead going into the lockers.
Jay built an impressive drive on their opening possession of the second half to regain the lead.
Beginning from their own 38 yard line and consuming four and half minutes, the Bulldogs combined rushes from Baker and passes from Edge to Davenport and Shambaugh to eventually plug Baker in from three yards out. The Loomis PAT made for a 21-16 JHS lead with 4:26 left in the third.
The Tigers responded with a 75-yard scoring drive. The big lift came from Cox on a 48-yard sprint from the PHS 22 yard line to the Bulldog 30. Cox placed the angel on the Christmas tree with an eight yard sprint to pay dirt. The Ogg PAT made for a 23-21 Pryor lead.
Ogg’s kick may have been the final point of the night but Jay had three cracks at a go-ahead score in the final period.
Their first shot, which began late in the third quarter, ended with a fumble at the Tiger 49 yard line.
The Bulldogs had a second chance with 8:10 remaining and starting from their own 27 yard line. Three consecutive incomplete passes thwarted the attempt and Jay was forced to punt.
Pryor ate up some clock with their ground game on their possession, Cox and McCollough taking turns, before being faced with a fourth and eight at the Jay 32-yard line. The conversion attempt- a run by Cox- was unsuccessful and the Jay offense returned to the field with 4:11 left on the clock and the line of scrimmage marked at their own 28 yard line.
The Bulldog’s second play on the drive began in disaster but ended in good fortune. A mishap between Edge and his center resulted in a fumbled snap. Edge scooped the ball up and looked to have turned what could have been a fatality into a positive as he scrambled for a small gain. However, a late hit by a Tiger defender, after the quarterback was well out of bounds, resulted in a personal foul penalty making for a Jay first and ten at the Pryor 41 yard line.
A quarterback sack on the next play, coupled with an illegal block penalty on the Bulldogs, pushed Jay back across the midfield. From there an eventual fourth and twenty spot saw Edge make a determined 17-yard scramble before being hit and fumbling the ball away with 2:43 left in the game.
As the Tiger offense returned to the field JHS utilized their final time outs but steady running by Cox ate out the clock to preserve the PHS win.
The Tigers travel to Will Rogers this Friday to begin district play.
Jay will travel to Vinita to begin their district tour.
JAY BULLDOGS v PRYOR TIGERS
September 18, 2009 @ Earp Stadium
JAY (1-2) 21, PRYOR (3-0) 23
1 2 3 4 F
PHS 7 9 7 0 23
JHS 7 7 7 0 21
BULLDOG INDIVIDUAL STATS
PASSING CMP ATT YDS TD INT
Edge 12 24 163 2 1
RUSHING ATT YDS TD
Baker 9 46 1
Edge 6 18
RECEIVING REC YDS TD
Davenport 4 113 1
K. Shambaugh 4 21
Baker 1 12 1
K. Shambaugh 9
S. Jones 8
K. Shambaugh 1