RBS JR-High - 34 Jackson County Middle - 12
I’m really proud for these boys and what they have accomplished so far this season. Starting the season 4 - 0 creates a huge boost of confidence as we head into the teeth of our schedule. From here on out, it will be a tough opponent each week.
We traveled to Jackson County last night to participate as their homecoming opponent. The guys were really excited all week about having the opportunity to be the spoiler of their festivities.
But, the game started out pretty rough for the Bulldogs. Self-inflicted adversity kept us out of the endzone 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. Despite shooting ourselves in the foot, we controlled the ball for the entire 1st quarter.
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 Michael 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—not giving up any positive yardage to Jackson County at all in the first half. The Bulldog offense took the field in the second half with a sense of urgency and determination. Jackson County did too, however, on their first posession. They took the opening kick-off of the second half and marched the ball down the field on the ground. Eventually the drive stalled as they turned the ball over on downs with a 4th down quarterback sack by Billy York. The Bulldogs began to light up the scoreboard at that point.
Michael Tirjan scored the first TD of the second half on a 55 yard romp. Elijah 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 Elijah Byfield on a pass play where the receivers were well covered and he was forced to tuck it & run. 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.
The Blue Devils would not be denied though. They continued to play hard and give a lot of effort—the trademark of a Coach Sean Loftis team. With the second string secondary in for the Bulldogs, the Devils converted a deep half-back pass for a touchdown. The 2 point play failed and the score read 28 - 6. Elijah Byfield returned the ensueing 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 after breaking 4 tackles and tip-toeing the sideline for the remaining 10 yards. 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.
I felt we started the game pretty sloppy last night. It had the same kind of feel as the Pickett County game—Ugly Win! The early penalties seemed to really compound the situation. I believe we got frustrated and lost our sense of responsibility as the negative events unfolded. We need to show more composure in the face of adversity as the season progresses. We blocked really well at times, but equally as bad at times too.
When it was bad, it was really bad. We’ve got to have a great week of practice next week in order to correct some of the little things that are plaguing us. Some of the things needing correction are: reach block steps of the offensive line, staying with our blocks longer, the motion and timing speed of our wingbacks, quarterbacks being more patient, and fullbacks staying with (and trusting) their points of attack. Defensively, we just need to be more focused on our reads and reactions. I catch us looking in the backfield too much. Tackling needs to improve also.
We have to work really hard this next week in practice. We need to get as flawless as we can in execution in order to be competitive with Walter J. Baird. They are a very good football team. But just like I tell our boys, we are a pretty good team too. We just need to focus on making us better—great attention to details. We don’t need to worry more about them; as much as, we need to stay focused on what we do. I’m still very proud of the guys though. One of the first steps into becoming a credible program is beating the teams you’re supposed to beat—regardless of the situation.
I felt last night was an indication that we are making good progress. I’m not sure last year’s team would have responded the way this one did. This group came out of halftime with a purpose and a strong-willed determination to “Get the Job Done”. We totaled 285 yards rushing on 34 attempts. Our aggressiveness also showed as the boys made 19 pancakes and 5 touchdown blocks. Through 4 games this season, we have 930 yards rushing on 145 carries, 58 pancake blocks, & 18 touchdown blocks. Defensively, we had 7 tackles for loss and forced 3 turnovers. On the season, the defense has recorded 22 tackles for loss & 17 turnovers.
Stats of interest:
Elijah Byfield—14 carries for 128 yards & 2 TDs, two 2-point conversions, 14 broken tackles, & a 54 yard kickoff return.
Michael Tirjan—6 carries for 106 yards & 3 TDs, 11 broken tackles, 2 pancake blocks, and a fumble recovery on defense.
Josh Tirjan—4 carries for 33 yards, 3 broken tackles, 4 pancake blocks, & 3 touchdown blocks.
Billy York—7 tackles, 2 for loss, a quarterback sack, 5 1/2 pancake blocks, & 1 touchdown block.
Jordan Powell—6 tackles, 1 for loss, forced a fumble, & 1 touchdown block.
Justin Bergdorff—6 tackles, 3 1/2 for loss, & 1 interception
Our next opponent is the Undefeated Superpower—Walter J. Baird (4 - 0 ) of Wilson County. The game will be held on Thursday night at 7 PM in Lebanon on the campus of Walter J. Baird Middle School. This contest promises to be a great showdown between two hard-nosed bunch of young men trying to hold-on to undefeated seasons. Coach Eric Lawrence has done a magnificent job the past two seasons of building that program up to its current status. His success is definately well-deserved. This game will be very brutal—a “must not miss” football game. Thank you all for your support. We really appreciate it.