Coach Warren Kirk added the Miami Wardogs to the 2018 Jay Bulldogs football schedule was as a "test."
It was a test his team passed with flying colors as they came away with a win over the Wardogs 23 to 14 on Friday, Aug. 31.
Miami began with the ball but had to quickly give it up to Jay.
The Bulldogs worked their way down the field with running plays, but when they made a pass from the 18 yard line, the Wardogs were there to reel it in.
They retained ownership of the ball into the second quarter until the Bulldogs’ Daylon Simpson intercepted the Miami pass at the 14 yard line.
Then three plays later, Jay fumbled and Miami recovered, completing their possession with a touchdown.
After the kickoff, the Bulldogs began their march down the field, with two strong runs by Zach Coy and a carry by L-Ray Kirk, but were halted by the Wardogs at their 45 yard line.
Jay punted and Miami took over on the 21 yard line. The Bulldogs pushed them back until J.D. Downing tackled Miami in the backfield, forcing the Wardogs to punt.
With Jay in control of the ball, Simpson executed a 14 yard run and then followed with a 30 yard pass and run to L-Ray Kirk. They fought to the nine yard line, but had to settle for a field goal. The half ended Bulldogs 3 and Wardogs 7.
Jay received the ball to open the second half and walked the ball down the field from the 18 yard line for a touchdown and extra point.
They controlled the line of scrimmage for all of the third quarter, except for three minutes. The Wardogs came back with a 64 yard pass for another touchdown and extra point. Bulldogs 10, Wardogs 14. It was the last points the Wardogs would see.
The Bulldogs had the ball going into the fourth quarter, but had to punt it away. They got it back at the 47 yard line on downs and turned on the power. Simpson broke through and ran 34 yards to the 13 yard line.
After a false start penalty, Simpson ran the ball in from the 18 yard line for a touchdown, but no extra point added. On the kick back to Miami, the Bulldogs held the Wardogs to only 9 yards, forcing a turnover on downs.
Jay took over on Miami’s 45 yard line and began a new march down the field. An L-Ray Kirk run of 21 yards took Jay to the 11 yard line, then the nine yard line, finally to the two yard line, then Marcelo Montes De Oca carried the ball across the goal line for a touchdown with an added extra point.
The Wardogs got the ball back with 1:29 left on the clock. However, the Bulldogs weren’t done snarling. They backed up the Wardogs on each play until they swarmed and sacked the quarterback at midfield as the clock ran out. Final score Bulldogs 23, Wardogs 14
Kirk was very pleased with how his team played.
When asked why more running of the football rather passing, Kirk said “we felt we could line up and run the ball and we rushed for 335 yards.”
"We thought our conditioning was good, but we need to improve on it," he added.
The Bulldogs stayed strong until the final whistle.
“We have guys playing both sides of the ball that need to be able to play every play just [as] hard as the first play," Kirk said. "We try to practice really fast and up-tempo for our conditioning.”
The Bulldogs had 9 penalties to Miami’s 1.
“We need to cut down on those [penalties]," Kirk said. "Every time we’d get close to the end zone, we’d get a flag, so we’ll focus on that stuff and learn from it.
“We have a good throwing [quarterback] and some really good wide receivers, but if we can run the ball, we’ll run the ball.”
Looking ahead to Grove, Kirk added “we need to bring everything we got against Grove. I know they’ll play hard. We need to come [to] match the intensity and control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.”
Jay travels to Grove on Friday, Sept. 7, for the Delaware County Bowl. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., at Ridgerunner Stadium.