(AP) LOCUST GROVE – It would be easy to chalk up Jay’s total domination of the Locust Grove Pirates Friday night at Leonard Yarborough Stadium to the stellar rushing performances of Bulldog senior quarterback Shai Jones and sophomore running back Taylor Foster, but the true credit for their 41-12 road romp goes to their offensive line. From the game’s opening snap the Bulldog front five owned the line of scrimmage and never gave it back.
A short opening kick and return gave the Dawgs possession on their own 40 and the dominance commenced in earnest. On their opening half dozen snaps, Foster and Jones carried the ball three times each, all the way to the Pirate 3. Sophomore running back Christian Duffield covered the final three yards to the end zone for the game’s first touchdown on the seventh play of the drive. The extra point failed, but the visitors were on top for good.
After three plays netted a negative five yards, the Pirates lined up to punt. The punter had difficulty handling the rolling long snap and by the time he got a handle on it he was surrounded by the Jay rush. With nowhere to run, the kicker tried to toss the ball downfield. The ball bounced off of the potential receiver, was ruled incomplete and Jay was awarded the ball, on downs, at the Locust Grove 31.
The Bulldogs were unable to take advantage and turned the ball over on downs. After three plays the Pirates (4-2 overall, 1-2 in district play) were forced to punt again, and this time a second bad snap bounced off of the punter where it was recovered by Jay on the 19.
The Bulldog offense only needed three plays before Jones (17 carries for 199 yards) blasted his way to a 13-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion run was stopped short, but Jay was on top by a dozen.
The Pirates started their next possession near midfield and were able to string together 10 plays and picked up their first pair of first downs before being stopped on fourth down at the Jay 22-yard line.
Following Jones’s pair of keepers to the Jay 41, Foster took the next two snaps. On the final play of the quarter, Foster rolled for 30 yards to the enemy 29. And on the opening play of the second stanza, the sophomore RB covered the final 29 yards for the Bulldogs’ third unanswered score. Sergio Perez added the extra point, to give his team a 19-0 lead.
After another Locust Grove punt Jay (4-2, 1-2) started their next drive on the 35 and on the strength of six rushes, that included a 35-yard scamper by Jones, they were deep in Locust Grove territory again.
Facing a second and goal from the 3, Foster scored his second six of the game and added the two-point conversion for a 27-0 lead at the break.
Foster would finish the night with 157 yards on 17 carries.
The Pirates received the second half kick and put together their best offensive drive of the game. Riding three Witt completions, Locust Grove used nine snaps to march to the 3. That was when Witt got his team on the scoreboard with a 3-yard keeper. The Pirates went for two and failed, for the 27-6 score.
Jay answered with another clock-eating, nine-play rushing drive all the way to the opposing 6. That was where Foster took the handoff and, thanks to a huge block on the defensive end by Duffield, scored his third TD of the game.
The home team put together another nine-play drive that concluded with a 26-yard Witt to Mason Fine TD completion early in the fourth quarter The two-point pass attempt was no good to complete the home teams’ scoring on the night.
Leading 33-12, the Bulldogs handled the line drive kickoff and went to work on the remaining clock. Stringing together 14 plays and overcoming an illegal block penalty Jay marched to the Pirate 4, where Jones covered the rest to the end zone. Jones called his own number again on the successful two-point run and the convincing 41-12 district win.
The Pirates take on Hilldale on the road Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m.