Guy Ellis

Ending non-district play with a close 23-21 loss to Pryor at home last Friday the Jay Bulldogs will be looking to rebound tonight as they open their 4A District-3 account at Vinita.

The Bulldogs enter tonight’s contest with a 1-2 record after a 41-7 win at Miami sandwiched between a season-opening loss to Gravette (AR) and last week’s battle.

Vinita has put together a 2-1 record thus far in ’09. The Hornets fell 24-8 at Pryor in week one before claiming consecutive home wins over Nowata, 18-15, and Dewey, 20-13.

Tonight will be the Hornets third home game in a row.

“I think they’re pretty athletic,” JHS head coach Shane Holland said of the Hornets. “They have some really good skill kids.”

The Hornet offense features a multi-set attack that can keep opposing defenses off balance.

“The biggest thing for us defensively is that we’ve got to be able to line up versus all of their formations,” Holland explained.

The rebuilt Bulldog offensive and defensive lines will play a major role in Friday’s contest.

“The lines work hard at improving each week,” Holland said. “They did a pretty good job last week. Pryor forced us to make an adjustment in our pass protection and the kids picked up on that pretty well.”

Quarterback Brandon Edge continued leading the impressive Bulldog air-attack last week, throwing for over 160 yards and two touchdowns. However, the running game hit some snags.

“We made decent gains when we tried to run the football,” Holland said. “But it seemed like every time we’d make a nice run we’d fumble it away at the end.

“Turnovers killed us last week,” the coach added.

The JHS staff and team have been busy this week working out the kinks in preparation for tonights opening round of district play.

“All of our games are important but these district games are the really big ones,” Holland said.

WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR

Each team possessed a 2-1 record going into last season’s contest at Earp Stadium where the Bulldogs took a 7-3 victory.

Jay signal caller Brandon Edge plunged in from a yard out in the first quarter to score the only touchdown of the game. The then-sophomore finished the night with 55 rushing yards and went 11 of 17 for 145 yards in the air.

Defensively, returning JHS players Casey Loomis, Delmo Crouch and Cayle Shambaugh had a big night.

Crouch was the leading tackler with 14 stops. He and Loomis each recorded one sack on the evening. Shambaugh nabbed two interceptions. All three players, now seniors, will be suited up Friday night.

Vinita scored a field goal in the fourth quarter last season to make for the final.