The Jackson Co. game started out pretty rough for the Bulldogs. Self-inflicted adversity kept us out of the end-zone during the 1st quarter. We had 69 yards in penalities in the first half–one of which brought back a beautifully executed long TD run by Michael Tirjan. As the second quarter got underway, we failed to convert on a 4th down pass into the endzone. Two plays later however, Jordan Powell forced a fumble which was recovered by Tirjan. With new life, the offense pushed the ball deeper into the red zone where Elijah Byfield finally broke the scoring drought with a 14 yard scamper up the home sideline for our first TD. The 2 point conversion failed. With the defense playing pretty stout, we went into halftime nursing a 6 point lead.
The Bulldog offense took the field in the second half with a sense of urgency and determination. They took the opening kick-off of the second half and marched the ball down the field. Tirjan scored the first TD of the second half on a 55 yard romp. Byfield added the 2 point play. After a Justin Bergdorff interception on the Devils’ next posession, the Bulldogs scored again very quickly–this time it was a 35 yard scramble by Byfield. Josh Tirjan received the HIT of the night on this play as he peeled back from his route to de-cleat a chasing defender. Elijah also added the 2 point play. The score read 22 – 0 at that point. Following a shanked punt early in the fourth quarter, the Bulldog offense scored again as Michael Tirjan broke through 2 defenders off-tackle in route to a 23 yard sprint. The 2 point pass play failed. Byfield returned a Blue Devil kickoff 54 yards to the 19 yard line–setting up the Bulldogs final touchdown with 2 minutes to play. As the only remaining starter in the offensive backfield, Michael Tirjan scored on the very next play. The 2 point play failed. Jackson County, after receiving the kick-off, ran most of the remaining time off the clock with solid blocking before taking an off-tackle run up their sideline for a Touchdown versus the Bulldog’s second string defense. The 2 point play failed and the final score read 34 to 12.
It was a rough night to be a Bulldog. We lost our first game to Walter J. Baird by a score of 0-36 in Lebanon. Coach Eric Lawrence has done an amazing job with that program over the last two seasons.
In my lifetime, I’ve only seen two other middle school teams as good as they are. Their defense is very stout! Their front stayed in our backfield all night and their linebackers were laying some serious wood. They limited us to 40 yards of total offense and only 3 first downs. We turned the ball over 5 times.
We had a really good week of practice leading up to the game. I felt the boys were ready to play, and I felt we were confident we could play with them. Matter of fact, our theme all week was hit ’em hard for four quarters–keep it close–and win late. But, we could never get anything started on offense. Plus, we couldn’t tackle any of their playmakers in the open field. We were able to get a few stops in the backfield with the defensive scheme we were running. But, when their runners made it to the edge due to a breakdown in responsibility–they were gone! Because of their intensity and our lack of execution, it felt like we were on defense the entire first half. It’s hard to get any momentum going when you run 3 plays, get no yards, and then punt. It made for a really long night.
I believe this is going to be an interesting week of practice. We have a very short week as it is–we have to turn around and play Clinton County KY at home next Tuesday night at 7:00 PM.