MIAMI- It was a SportsCenter caliber touchdown.
A 54-yard scamper by quarterback Jacob Cheatham midway through the second quarter provided the spark as Miami held off Jay for a 16-13 victory Friday night at Robertson Field.
“It was pretty special,” Miami coach Rick Woods said. “We needed a big spark and he gave it to us. We were sitting there kinda on our heels; we weren’t playing real well offensively.”
The win was the first in four tries for the Wardogs and avenged a 41-7 loss to Jay last year.
And just as big plays had been fatal to Miami in its first three games, it was the big play that fueled the Dogs.
In addition to Cheatham’s scamper, Kyle Jolley had a 20-yard run in the third quarter that gave Miami the lead for good.
The game potentially could have turned into another frustrating loss for the Wardogs, who had lost two of the first three by a total of nine points.
But they played keepaway from an offense that Woods has called one of the best the Dogs would see all season.
Jay had the ball for only two of the five series run by both teams in the second half.
The Wardogs recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, but had to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Caleb Potter.
That marked the second straight week Miami had drawn first blood in a game. And just like last week, the opponent eventually came back to take the lead.
In Friday’s clash, the Bulldogs took advantage of a Cheatham interception, getting its first score on a two-yard plunge by Trent Slaughter.
A 12-yard return of the pick gave Jay possession at the MHS three-yard line. Two plays later, Slaughter powered in.
The PAT kick by J.J. Meeker gave Jay a 7-3 advantage with 2:14 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 14-3 midway through the second quarter when four-year starter Brandon Edge teamed with Hayden White on a seven-yard strike.
That capped a 12-play drive that included a 39-yard completion to Shai Jones.
Meeker’s extra point kick was blocked, leaving the Bulldogs with a 13-3 margin with 7:46 until intermission.
That’s when lightning struck.
On the first play after the Jay TD, Cheatham called his own number and took off on a criss-crossing run that saw him break or shake several tackles.
It looked like he would be brought down at the Bulldog 29, but squirted loose and beat one final would-be tackler to get Miami’s longest touchdown run of the season.
The PAT kick by Potter narrowed the gap to 13-10 with 7:25 left in the half.
The Wardogs took the lead for good on their first possession of the third quarter.
They drove 57 yards in 10 plays, capping it with the 10-yard run by Jolley.
The Wardog junior popped loose a yard up from the line of scrimmage and took off.
The conversion failed when a bad snap forced Potter to scramble. His pass to Colin Robinson was incomplete, creating what would be the final margin with 7:32 left in the third period.
Miami thwarted the Bulldogs’ only threat of the half, a drive that reached the MHS 15.
Brad Carry broke up an Edge pass intended for Kyle Shambaugh on a third-andseven play.
Casey Carson, Trey Flick and Sawyer Pooler then stopped Izack Wilson two yards short of the down marker.
The teams swapped punts before Miami embarked on a ball-hogging final possession that chewed up the final 6:16.
The Wardogs reached the Jay one, but an offsides call pushed the ball back five yards.
Cheatham then took a knee to run off the final two seconds.
“We were trying to get (district) points, but at the same time we were trying to take care of the football,” Woods said. “We didn’t want to give them a chance, so we were just trying to run quarterback sneaks. I just wanted to be safe — we had to have a win.”
Miami’s defense turned in a superb effort, yielding only 72 yards on the ground.
And the Wardog offense turned in one of its better showings, cranking out 257 total yards, including 203 via the run.
Miami now is averaging 156.8 yards per game.
“We’re figuring out what we can do and what we can’t do,” Woods said. “There are still some areas we need to work on. We need to be able to spread people out and run the ball. We’re going to work on that. We need to get better at blocking on the perimeter.”
Cheatham and Jolley accounted for all of the Dogs’ rushing yardage.
Cheatham netted 105 yards on 18 carries while Jolley ran the ball 23 times and finished with 98 yards.
That’s the first time Miami has had a back go for more than 100 yards in a game since Trent Turner had 123 yards on eight carries against Tulsa Rogers on Oct. 15, 2008.
Ironically, Turner’s father — Ron — was on the sidelines as an assistant coach at Jay.
Jolley had only one carry for minus yardage and that was for a one-yard loss on the Dog’ first possession of the night.
“He’s gotten better every week,” Woods said. “We though a couple weeks ago he’d have a chance to do that and he’s proven us right. He’s turned into a pretty good threat for us.”
The Wardogs travel to Wagoner Friday night.
Jay will travel to Vinita on Friday.