Guy Ellis

Two area football programs will be looking to collect their first wins of the season tonight as the Miami Wardogs (0-1) host the Jay Bulldogs (0-1) at Robertson Field on the NEO A&M campus.

“It’s two people going for the same piece of chicken,” JHS Football Head Coach Shane Holland said of the situation. “It’s going to be a fight.”

Last Friday the Bulldogs opened their season at home against Arkansas powerhouse Gravette dropping a 28-8 decision.

Bulldog junior quarterback Brandon Edge went 17 of 28 in the season opener for 186 yards and a touchdown.

Senior wide receiver John Davenport was Edge’s favorite target last Friday. Davenport caught the Bulldogs lone touchdown on a 16-yard reception and pulled in the successful two-point conversion pass-play that followed.

Junior receiver Kyle Shambaugh played a role in the Bulldog air-attack, with a 27-yard reception during the Bulldogs’ touchdown scoring drive.

“Our passing game was good,” Holland said. “Brandon threw the ball well and our receivers did a good job.”

The Jay offense was held to under 50 rushing yards last week against Gravette. That performance will need to improve for Jay to have success against Miami, according to the head coach.

“We’ll need to control the ball offensively,” Holland said. “We’ll need to sustain drives and to do that we’ll need to run the ball.”

The Bulldogs will be looking to have a better defensive performance this Friday at Miami.

“We had some breakdowns last week,” Holland said of the defensive performance against the Lions. “We’ll need to play better on third down against Miami.”

The JHS defense turned in some impressive red-zone stands last Friday. On two occasions Gravette was turned away without a touchdown. Both series resulted in field goals for the Lions.

“That was something positive we could take away from last week,” Holland said.

Jay senior Josh Ramsey led the defensive front last Friday, recording a 12-yard sack on the Lion signal caller.

The 5A Wardogs traveled to 4A Wagoner to begin their ’09 campaign and fell 49-7.

The Wardogs featured an air attack against Wagoner led by quarterback Casey Carson. Carson hit 22 completions last week on 33 attempts for 61 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Despite the low yardage total the Wardogs showed an ability to spread the ball around. Seven different MHS players had receptions against Wagoner. Matt Walker nabbed six for 45 yards and Austin Hipkins pulled in five. Trey Flick and Casey Millard had four catches apiece, with Millard snagging the lone TD score of the night.

“They throw the ball really well,” Holland said of his team’s opponent tonight. “Their passing game features a lot of screens and slants. We’ll have to be ready for it.”

Miami’s offense totaled 110 yards against Wagoner last Friday.

The Wagoner offense posted 362 yards against Miami last week: 274 on the ground and 88 through the air.

“They’ll come out and play hard,” Holland said about Miami. “They have a tough schedule ahead of them and because of our past history they probably see this game (tonight) as one they can win.”

Last season Miami just edged the Bulldogs in a 31-28 thriller at Earp Stadium. The Wardogs held a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. JHS outscored their guests 14-0 in the third to fight their way back into the game. In the end a late fourth quarter field goal for the Wardogs sealed the victory.

“We need a win,” Holland said of tonight’s contest.