Richard Stroud

Grove Sun

Though it may be earlier in the season now and the two teams are now in different classes, don’t expect any drop off in intensity in the 73rd annual Delaware County Bowl.

“It’s different in that it’s early in the year,” Jay head coach Shane Holland said. “But the intensity will be the same.”

The two teams are coming off two very different results from their opening week games. The Ridgerunners held on against an inspired Miami squad to claim a tough 15-13 win, while the Bulldogs are coming off a 28-0 loss against the Gravette Lions.

“There were four or five plays that turned the game for us,” Holland said. “We had six turnovers and we can’t do that. We have to avoid those mistakes this week. We did some good things but had too many errors on the offensive side of the ball.”

In spite of the mistakes Holland found some encouraging signs from his team.

“Our offensive line played really well. We pass blocked well and opened up some holes in the running game. We also played pretty well defensively.”

A sequence that changed Jay’s fortunes for good occurred just after halftime, when the Bulldogs drove to the Lions’ one only to fumble the ball away. On their ensuing possession the Lions drove the length of the field for a touchdown that made the score 21-0.

“That was disappointing. We lost our momentum and we didn’t seem to have it within us to dig deep and get back in the game.”

After last year’s 29-21 win in week 10 that won the Bulldogs the district title and knocked Grove out of playoff contention, Holland is looking for a more consistent effort from his squad and a way to contain Grove’s speedsters.

“[Grove head coach] Dennis [Millican] has a really big bag of trick plays,” Holland said. “We have to stay disciplined. We don’t want to get into a track meet with those guys. Number 81 [Brody Scott] and Buck Maples can get behind us and burn us for a big play if we’re not careful.”

Holland is also hoping that a trend in the rivalry continues. Jay won nine of 10 from 1984-1993 before the Ridgerunners took 12 of the last 16.

“That’s been the way the rivalry has gone,” Holland said. “One team will dominate for a while and then the other will take a turn.”

The Ridgerunners hope that last year’s game was an aberration in a nearly two-decade long trend that has seen them dominate the series.

Holland expects last year’s upset by Jay will only serve to intensify this year’s Bowl.

“It meant a lot to us because we hadn’t won in a while. It intensifies things for most people. Maybe they [Grove] took the game for granted last year because they had won so many times. But they’ll definitely be focused this year.”

Grove is coming off a narrow win over the Miami Wardogs. The Ridgerunners played a solid, if unspectacular, game against the Wardogs, committing only three penalties on the night and winning the turnover battle 3-1.

Running back Buck Maples led the way offensively for the Ridgerunners, gaining just over 100 yards of total offense while throwing for one touchdown and running for another.

But it was the Grove defense that stepped up in the second half, shutting down quarterback Jacob Cheatam and the Miami offense despite being faced with poor field position for much of the final two quarters.

The Delaware County Bowl

1928         No score

1929         9-2                  Grove

1930         No Game

1931         36-0               Grove

1932         29-0               Grove

1933-34   No Game

1935         6-0                 Jay

1936        13-7                Jay

1937        13-7                Grove

1938        20-0                Grove

1939        12-0                Grove

1940        24-0                Grove

1941        6-6                  Tie

1942-48  No Game

1949        24-7               Jay

1950        7-6                 Grove

1951        7-0                 Grove

1952        39-6               Grove

1953        28-24             Grove

1954        39-13             Jay

1955        32-12             Grove

1956        41-19             Grove

1957        34-0               Grove

1958        24-0               Grove

1959        40-0               Grove

1960        32-6               Grove

1961        8-6                 Jay

1962        20-0               Grove

1963        30-12             Grove

1964        8-6                 Grove

1965        54-6               Jay

1966        20-8               Jay

1967        40-0               Jay

1968        18-0               Jay

1969        18-6               Grove

1970        37-14             Grove

1971        6-6                  Tie

1972        41-12             Grove

1973        13-6               Grove

1974        49-6               Grove

1975        7-0                  Jay

1976        21-13             Grove

1977        40-0               Jay

1978        27-0               Grove

1979        37-0               Grove

1980        14-3               Grove

1981        21-10             Grove

1982        6-0                 Grove

1983        14-0               Grove

1984        21-0               Jay

1985        28-0               Jay

1986        40-7               Jay

1987        35-12             Jay

1988        32-14             Grove

1989        28-20             Jay

1990        30-28             Jay

1991        13-0               Jay

1992        28-16             Jay

1993        20-18             Jay

1994        35-7               Grove

1995        17-6               Grove

1996        41-17             Grove

1997        14-7               Grove

1998        31-28             Grove

1999        34-24             Grove

2000        37-13             Jay

2001        36-32             Jay

2002        39-20             Jay

2003        14-0               Grove

2004        35-0               Grove

2005        40-21             Grove

2006        34-0               Grove

2007        42-17             Grove

2008        24-10             Grove

2009        29-21             Jay

Grove leads series 45-24-2