Guy Ellis

The Delaware County Bowl kicks off for the 71st time this Friday as old rivals Grove and Jay square off at Ridgerunner Stadium in a 7:30 PM kickoff.

The stakes are always high whenever Jay and Grove square off- in any sport- and besides the local bragging rights, good for up to a year!, the Bowl holds other significances.

The Ridgerunners, fresh off clinching their first District Championship since 1991, will be seeking to close out their 2008 campaign with a perfect regular season record. Grove has clinched the home field for the first round of the playoffs and a win there would give them the home field for round two, as well.

But first there’s Jay to deal with and the Grove team’s philosophy of one game at a time, as laid out in the goals and guidelines handout given to the squad way back in August, has served them well this season.

The Bulldogs enter Friday night’s contest fresh off two wins and a revitalized shot at making the playoffs. But it won’t be easy. First the Bulldogs have to defeat Grove on Friday. And they also have to hope that Vinita defeats Tulsa McLain over at Memorial Field. Vinita enters the contest with a 3-6 record. (see sidebar for full district standings) It would be the equivalent of a “perfect storm” for all of those scenarios to take place but it is possible.

After all, the McLain troops suffered a 10-0 loss to Catoosa earlier in the year, proving that they are very capable of losing games that they should, on paper, win.

If the history of the Delaware County Bowl means anything then the Bulldogs can look back to the 1966 edition for some motivation. The Ridgerunners entered that contest with a 9-0 record, just as their contemporaries will Friday. In the event, dubbed “the football game of the decade” by the Grove Sun report, Jay pulled off a 20-8 upset in front of a crowd estimated at 4,500.

But, meanwhile, back on planet earth, the game Friday will be played on the field and not in the musty pages of the history of days gone by.

The Ridgerunner defense in 2008 has been a unit to make Chuck Norris proud. They are a hard-hitting bunch and their numbers for the season speak for themselves. (see sidebar)

Complimenting all of that is a Grove offense that is averaging 340 yards and 39 points a game. The unit has changed some personnel through the season, yet the results have remained the same.

It may all add up to simply too much for a young Bulldog club to overcome but it’s a sure bet that Jay should fight hard. The team has shown some true grit in bouncing back from a tough mid-season spell to put them in a position to go to the playoffs- a team goal as laid out in the beginning of the season.

The Bulldog defense is led by Delmo Crouch, credited with 74 tackles and eight sacks this season. Darrant Buffington, with 43 tackles and seven sacks, is another mainstay on the defensive front. Tyler Baker, with 52 tackles, and Josh McElwee, with 49, are two names that are likely to be called out often on the PA system Friday.

The Bulldog secondary is led by Cayle and Kyle Shambaugh, with four and three interceptions, respectively. Trevor January has two picks for ’08.

Brandon Edge leads the Bulldog offense. The sophomore signal-caller has hit 92 of 166 passes this year for 959 yards with eight touchdowns and ten interceptions.

RIDGERUNNER DEFENSE THROUGH WEEK 9

YARDS ALLOWED PER GAME AVG

RUSHING            132

PASSING            102

TOTAL                235

TURNOVERS            35

POINTS ALWS PER GAME AV    9.7

LEADING TACKLERS

Bobby Harris        100

Trent Phillips        65

Dusty Gehrke        59

Weston Culvey        54

Connor Sarwinski        47

Antonio Trillo        45

Casey Bartley        38

Laramie Raymond        36

David Scott            36

Stephen Whitesell        33

Ryan Miller            32

Brody Scott            26

Braeden Downes        21

Tyler Spychalski        15

Jake Martin            13

Corey Swartz        12

T.J. Griffith        9

Jarrod Leach        5

Tyler Crossley        3

Corey Davenport        3

Michael Fenlon        3

Jesse Carper        2

Adam Steffenson        2

Trent Rabe            2

Michael Hudgens        1

Buck Maples            1

Jake Nelson            1

Trent Winters        1

SACKS

Bobby Harris        4

Weston Culvey        3

Ryan Miller            3

Laramie Raymond        3

Antonio Trillo        2

Stephen Whitesell        2

David Scott            1

INTERCEPTIONS

Dusty Gehrke        7

Braeden Downes        5

Tyler Spychalski        3

Corey Davenport        1

FUMBLE RECOVERIES

Weston Culvey        4

David Scott            3

Trent Phillips        2

Brody Scott            2

Tyler Spychalski        2

Casey Bartley        1

Dusty Gehrke        1

Michael Hudgens        1

Bobby Harris        1

Connor Sarwinski        1

Stephen Whitesell        1

2008 Ridgerunner Schedule

McDonald Co        56- 7 W

Wagoner        43- 6 W

@ Miami        27- 7 W

Tulsa McLain    21- 6 W

@ Vinita        31- 0 W

Collinsville    31-14 W

@ Oologah        41-20 W

@ Catoosa        31- 7 W

@ Locust Grove    66-21 W

2008 Bulldog Schedule

Clarksville (AR)    46-14 W

Miami            28-31 L

@ Pryor        31- 7 W

Vinita         7- 3 W

@ Tulsa McLain    10-40 L

Oologah         7-36 L

@ Collinsville     0-18 L

Locust Grove    50-27 W

@ Catoosa        16-14 W

DISTRICT 4A-3 STANDINGS

TEAM            W-L    PF    PA    DIST    DP

Grove            9-0    347    88    6-0    90

Collinsville    8-1    254    107    5-1    59

Oologah        6-3    262    182    5-1    50

Jay            5-4    195    183    3-3    -24

McLain        5-4    267    126    2-4    -15

Catoosa        2-7    106    223    1-5    -41

Vinita        3-6    136    223    1-5    -59

Locust Grove    2-7    199    364    1-5    -60