Friday night will mark the 71st- or 72nd , it depends upon who you ask- rendition of the Jay High School versus Grove High School football game; aka the Delaware County Bowl.
The annual battle between the county seat and the county’s largest community has its origins in the charred ruins of a courthouse burned to the ground some 80 years ago.
From the pages of The Grove Sun archives here are some of the biggest games through the decades for each school.
1954 – Jay 39, Grove 13
The ’54 contest was a big one for the Bulldogs in the 1950’s. It was the only DelCo Bowl that JHS won in the decade.
The game was the home opener for the Ridgerunners. Grove’s first offensive play saw QB Max Bainter connect with receiver Billy Duffield for a 64-yard touchdown pass.
The Bulldogs took a 7-6 halftime lead and stretched it to the eventual 39-13 final.
JHS QB Joe Netherton had scores from 40, 3, and 50 yards, including one to receiver Roddie Reid. Netherton pulled in an interception on defense.
The contemporary Sun report described the Bulldogs as possessing “some of the fastest ball-carrying seen on a Grove gridiron.”
1959 – Grove 40, Jay 0
The ’59 game marked the third consecutive year that GHS had recorded a shutout over their cross-county rivals.
The ’59 Ridgerunners were one of the most decorated teams in Grove history. The squad recorded a 10-0 season and inaugurated Ridgerunner Stadium.
GHS posted five first half touchdowns in the 40-0 romp. Among the highlights was a 75-yard scoring pass from QB Bill Butler to receiver Charles Cooper.
The Sun report from the time stated that GHS FB Dwain Vice was in “top-form” and “sparked” the Ridgerunner attack but suffered a knee injury late in the first half.
Grove All-Stater Kelly Hampton recorded an interception in the second half when teammate Val Gibson deflected a Bulldog pass.
In all Grove posted 500 offensive yards – 348 on the ground and 152 in the air- while holding Jay to 17 total yards.
Besides coverage from the DelCo Bowl a headline in the same edition of the Grove Sun related: “Jim Beauchamp reports Tuesday for Cardinal winter baseball series.” But that’s a different story.
1965 – Jay 54, Grove 6
Before ’65 the Bulldogs had only won three DelCo Bowls since play in the series had resumed in 1949 following the War years. The 54-6 JHS victory that fall was the first in a series of four consecutive Bowl titles for the ‘Dogs.
The hosting Bulldogs feasted on nine Ridgerunner turnovers in the contest. JHS standout Keith Culver scored four touchdowns as the Bulldogs outgained GHS 205-80 on the ground.
Ridgerunner tackle Tim DuBois suffered an ankle injury in the contest.
Legendary Grove coach J.E. Landon – who won many, many more games than he lost- summed it up thusly in the contemporary report:
“It (the final) boils down to the fact that we gave them the ball throughout the first half and then couldn’t stop their good runners.”
1969 – Grove 18, Jay 6
The ’69 DelCo Bowl saw the Ridgerunners travel to Jay and break a four-year Bulldog winning streak to re-assert the upper hand in the series.
The final DelCo Bowl of the decade saw the teams battling it out for the district crown.
Grove’s Ricky Littlefield scored the initial touchdown of the night in the first quarter when he scooped up a Bulldog fumble and returned it 43 yards.
GHS running back Edward Tanner added a second quarter TD on a seven yard rush.
Jay’s Greg Weaver posted the lone Bulldog touchdown of the night with 13 seconds left in the game.
1976 – Grove 21, Jay 13
The nation’s Bi-Centennial year had the Ridgerunners hosting the annual showdown with new head coach, and GHS alum, Charles Cooper at the helm.
The Bulldogs broke out to a 13-0 first half lead on the power of two rushing touchdowns of 17 and six yards from signal caller David Graham.
But those points marked the end of the JHS scoring on the night.
GHS running back Leonard Tanner had a 12-yard scoring run late in the second quarter to make it a 13-7 Jay lead at the break.
Tanner scored on another 12-yard run in the third to place Grove ahead.
The scoring drive that led to the go-ahead score saw GHS complete a 30-yard flea-flicker reception by Steve Cabral from Monte Wilson. It was the only completed pass from either team for the entire night.
Grove’s Billy Bloomer iced the Ridgerunner victory with a 27-yard scoring run with 4:31 left in the game.
Tanner ended the game with 136 yards on 22 carries and Coach Cooper was marched off the field on the shoulders of his players as the Ridgerunners completed a 6-4 campaign.
1977 – Jay 40, Grove 0
Much like the ‘50s, the ‘70s were a dry-spell for Bulldog fortunes in the DelCo Bowl. The ’75 and ’77 editions counted as Jay’s only wins in the series for the decade.
The Bulldogs amassed 385 rushing yards on their way to the 40-0 win. Mike Dilbeck had a 54-yard scoring run and Billy White produced a 63-yard TD sprint. In all the Bulldogs out gained Grove 446 yards to 143.
An un-named GHS coach was quoted in the aftermath as saying, “It’s kind of like the flu. I think I might be getting over it but I’m still suffering.”
The final game of the regular season, the Bowl outcome left the rivals with mirror image season records; the Bulldogs at 7-3 and the Ridgerunners at 3-7.
1983 – Grove 14, Jay 0
The ’83 DelCo Bowl saw the Ridgerunners win their sixth consecutive game in the series.
Traveling to Earp Stadium as the defending 3A-12 District Champions, GHS Head Coach Jimmie Johnston’s troops pulled out a 14-0 win to qualify for a return trip to the playoffs. The Ridgerunners finished second in the district behind Vinita.
Grove opened the festivities with a bang when Rusty Frazier returned the opening kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown.
The Ridgerunners faced some adversity late in the first half when running back Brent Maples went down with what the contemporary report labeled a “hip-pointer.”
The Bulldogs had an opportunity to even the score in the third quarter. Jay had driven to the GHS one yard line but running back Tim Barnwell fumbled and Grove’s Brian Roskob recovered.
Ridgerunner Bill Burk iced the game on a three-yard TD plunge with 2:07 left in regulation. The scoring drive saw Grove convert a fourth and 12 spot from the Jay 30 when Frazier gained 19 yards on an end around.
1984 – Jay 21, Grove 0
The ’84 DelCo Bowl, played at Ridgerunner Stadium, signaled a renaissance in the series for the Bulldogs. The 21-0 Bulldog win was the first of four consecutive JHS DelCo Bowl titles. From ’84 to ’93 Jay would go on to take nine wins in the series.
Jay’s Duce Lee scored the initial JHS touchdown from a yard out early in the second quarter.
Bulldog QB Rodney Pickle connected with Travis Smith for a 10-yard TD reception with 11 seconds left in the first half to consolidate the Jay lead.
Lee put the final touchdown of the night on the board with a 60-yard burst in the second half.
The Bulldogs wrapped up the season with a 9-1 record and hosted Oologah the very next week in the first round of the playoffs.
1993 – Jay 20, Grove 18
The Bulldogs won their ninth of the past ten DelCo Bowls in a hard-fought 20-18 contest at Earp Stadium.
The difference in the game turned out to be extra points: Jay’s Joe Hendren went two for three on PAT kicks while GHS was turned away on all three of their two-point conversion attempts.
With 1:49 left to play Grove’s Jason Geer caught a 24-yard TD pass from QB Tony Crawford, cutting the JHS lead to a pair of points. The ensuing Ridgerunner two-point conversion attempt resulted in an incomplete pass sealing the Bulldog win.
Geer was the leading receiver for the Ridgerunners nabbing five catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns, including an eight-yarder in the third.
The Bulldogs opened the second half by moving QB Shane Kirby to tailback and abandoning their pass-attack for a more traditional “I” formation offense. Kirby responded with 97 second half rushing yards making a total of 118 for the game.
Despite the shift to a rushing attack the Bulldogs still found success through the air. Doug Postoak pulled in a pair of second half scoring receptions from Kirby – who was alternating between TB and QB - one from 20 yards and the other from 38.
Grove opened the scoring in the contest when Crawford hit Brian Lovelace on a 41-yard TD pass off of a flea-flicker.
At games’ end the Ridgerunners had outgained the Bulldogs 283 to 269.
1999 – Grove 34, Jay 24
Grove closed the decade of DelCo play with a 34-24 win at Ridgerunner Stadium. The win assured GHS a trip to the playoffs and Grove went on to face Muldrow the next week in round one.
On the Thursday before the game there was a pep-rally at the City of Grove Sports Complex complete with a giant bonfire. A Jay “fan” was burned in effigy on the logs.
Ridgerunner QB Joe Ferguson had a banner night completing 17 of 32 passes for 212 yards and four touchdowns. J.P. Northcutt pulled in three of those scores- the final one with 3:06 left in the game while Micah Stinnett, who had five grabs in the contest, had a TD reception as well.
The Bulldogs were playing without regular starting QB Isac Tsosic, who was down with an injury, and instead started freshman Brent Stephens.
The ’99 win was the sixth straight DelCo Bowl title for the Ridgerunners and would prove to be their last until the ’03 season.
2002 – Jay 39, Grove 20
Ridgerunner Stadium was the sight of the ’02 classic. The 39-20 Bulldog win has been the most recent JHS victory in the series and marked the finale of a three-game winning streak for the Bulldogs in DelCo Bowl play.
The Ridgerunners drew first blood in the contest. QB Ty Jeffries found Joey Lewendowski for a 70-yard scoring strike on the second GHS snap of the contest. Lewendowski finished the game with 119 receiving yards on five catches with two touchdowns.
The Bulldog offense rolled up 454 yards in the game. QB Billy Roberts posted 220 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 14 of 26 showing.
Roberts found Matt Studie from 18 yards out, and Caleb Barnwell from 35 yards. The big play was a 72-yard scoring strike to Robbie Pickle. Pickle added a one-yard rushing TD to his game resume.
2008 – Grove 24, Jay 10
The Ridgerunners capped a perfect ’08 season with a home win over Jay.
GHS had already cinched the 4A-3 District Championship before kickoff but the Bulldogs needed a win to advance to the playoffs.
In the event the Bulldogs gave a good showing of themselves but Grove was simply too much.
The game was one of big plays. Grove’s Dusty Gehrke returned a punt 57 yards for a second half touchdown. Jay’s Trevor January had a fourth quarter punt return good for a 74-yard score.
Each team traded field goals as well. Jay’s Casey Loomis nailed one from 42 yards out while Grove’s T.J. Griffith connected on a 23-yard attempt.
Ridgerunner QB Corey Davenport had TD runs of seven and two yards.
THE DELAWARE COUNTY BOWL
1928 NO SCORE
1929 9– 2 GROVE
1930 NO GAME
1931 36- 0 GROVE
1932 29- 0 GROVE
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
1942-1948 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
GROVE leads series 45-23-2