With a full moon rising in the unseasonably cool September sky, the Jay Bulldogs opened their 2009 football season Friday night at Earp Stadium versus Gravette.
And the visiting Lion defense frustrated the Bulldog running game by holding them under to under 50 rushing yards. Add to that a pretty balanced offense and a kicker that was dangerous from almost anywhere and Gravette, who finished last season with a 9-3 record, walked away with a pretty impressive 28-8 victory.
The visitors won the coin toss and opted to defer their choice until the second half, wherein Jay chose to receive. Gravette kicker Cody Montee boomed the opening kickoff into the end zone for the first of several touchbacks on the night.
Starting on their own 20 the Bulldogs went three and out and had to punt the ball twice. Their first punt was a good one that gave the Jay coverage plenty of time. But the play was called back for a holding penalty and on the second kick the ball went off the side of the kicker’s foot and out of bounds deep in ’Dog territory.
Aided by a procedure penalty on the Lions, the Jay defense did a good job of protecting their goal line and forced a field goal attempt. And Montee made the 30-yard field goal look easy for the 3-0 lead.
Following an exchange of possessions and a failed Bulldog field goal attempt, Gravette regained control of the ball and advanced toward the Jay goal. But the Bulldog defense held firm and made the Lions settle for a 13-yard Montee field goal on the second snap of the second quarter.
Trailing 6-0, the Bulldogs used a pair of running plays and a 15-yard penalty to move the stakes twice. But Jay relinquished the ball to the Lions with a fumble near the 50.
And before the first half was concluded Gravette had scored on a 29-yard touchdown pass, in addition to Montee’s third field goal of the game, this time from 43 yards away.
The second half started with the Lions receiving the kickoff. And on the second snap of the half, Jay’s Josh Ramsey dumped the Gravette signal caller for a 12-yard loss which forced them to eventually punt.
The Bulldogs answered with their best offensive drive of the night. Jay quarterback Brandon Edge connected on passes to Kyle Shambaugh and John Davenport for gains of 27 and 29 yards, respectively. And with 7:16 remaining in the third Edge found Davenport for a 16-yard TD pass.
Edge who was unofficially 15 of 24 for 161 yards, followed his TD pass with a successful 2-pt conversion toss, again to Davenport to cut Gravette’s lead in half, 16-8.
After allowing Gravette’s Michael Croasdell to return the ensuing kickoff to across the midfield stripe the Bulldog defense stiffened and kept the Lions out of the end zone.
On the heels of Jay’s defensive stand the Bulldog offense put together their best offensive drive of the game. Putting together 12 offensive plays the ‘Dogs moved the sticks three times to cross into the visitors side of the field. But an incomplete pass and another penalty ended the possession and the third quarter.
With 12 minutes to play in the contest, the Lions went into quasi-ball control scheme in an effort to burn up the game clock. Using most of the fourth quarter, Gravette put together a 10-play drive and picked up five first downs on the way to scoring the game’s final touch down on a seven yard pass to David O’Brien. Montee’s PAT kick was blocked accounting for the 28-8 final.
The Bulldogs travel to Miami on Friday for a 7:30 kickoff against the War Dogs.