By JOSH FRYE
Quarterback K.D. Rabb led the offense, and Tucker Spence spearheaded the defense as J.U. Blacksher improved to 4-1 with a 23-20 victory over Southern Choctaw last Friday, September 20.
Rabb rushed for 198 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and scored a pair of two-point conversions. He also went 4-for-13 passing, for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Spence led the Bulldogs defense with 12 tackles, and Jaylen Hunt tallied three sacks. Bubba Nettles carried the ball 14 times for 73 yards to complement Rabb’s offensive showing.
The Indians struck first, marching downfield before scoring on a 40-yard touchdown run with 8:21 left to play in the first quarter. A two-point conversion attempt failed, and South Choctaw led 6-0.
JUB generated positive yardage on the following drive with a 30-yard Rabb run that put the Bulldogs in scoring range, but a fumble ended scoring hopes.
The Bulldogs went ahead 8-6 on a 2-yard Rabb run with 10:21 left to play in the second period and Rabb’s two-point conversion.
Just over two minutes later, the JUB defense struck. J.T. Tucker blocked a punt and ran it in for six points. Another successful two-point conversion run by Rabb, and JUB extended the lead to 16-6.
With 2:07 left to play in the half, the SC defense answered back when Rabb’s only interception of the night was returned for a TD. The Indians attempted a two-point conversion but failed, leaving them four points short at 16-12.
With 23.9 seconds left to play in the half, the JUB quarterback extended the lead with a 10-yard touchdown run. Lathon Owens scored his team’s final point of the night with a PAT kick, and JUB carried a 23-12 lead into the halftime locker.
Neither team could generate enough offense to reach the end zone in the third quarter, and tempers boiled over. With five minutes left to play in the period, JUB’s Tucker Spence drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as a result of using excessive force on a tackle. The tackle drew both teams into a brief skirmish that was quickly broken up by officials and coaching staffs.
The excitement failed to generate morale on either side of the field, and the third quarter closed without either team denting the scoreboard.
The Indians attempted a late rally, scoring on a 30-yard touchdown run to cut their deficit to 23-20 with four minutes left to play.
The Bulldogs defense stood strong, though, and JUB’s offense took over on downs. The Bulldogs ran out the remaining clock to salvage the 23-20 win.
“We had more of a physical presence,” JUB head coach Wes Sims said. “The guys played well, and we are looking forward to this week’s game against our rival, Excel.”
JUB will travel to Excel for this Friday’s contest.