By JOSH FRYE
Quarterback K.D. Rabb again spearheaded the offense as J.U. Blacksher improved to 5-1 with a 49-14 victory over rival Excel last Friday, September 27, on Excel’s home turf.
Rabb wasn’t the only offensive weapon unleased on the visiting Panthers, but he was plenty. The JUB signal-caller rushed 18 times for 160 yards and three touchdowns, while also completing 7 of 15 passes for 145 yards and two more touchdowns.
JaDaniel Nettles added an eight-carry, 98-yard rushing night, and J.T. Tucker hauled in four passes for 70 yards to complement Rabb’s showing.
The Panthers actually struck first, scoring on a 62-yard dash with the opening kickoff. Excel missed the extra-point but led 6-0.
JUB failed to generate much offense on its first drive, turning the ball over to EHS on downs.
The Bulldogs defense, however, generated a strong showing against the Panthers offense, and Tucker blocked a Panthers punt on the following drive. The block gave JUB good field position, and Rabb punched the ball in an 11-yard keeper.
That score was followed up with an Andrew Dawson field goal, and the Bulldogs took the lead for good at 7-6 with just over a minute left in the first quarter.
Then Blacksher began to pour it on.
With 5:26 left to play in the half, Rabb connected on a 44-yard TD pass to Nettles, and Lathan Owens tacked on an extra two-points, and JUB’s lead was 15-6. Then, just over 3 minutes later, Rabb struck again, this time on a 40-yard TD dash.
Each team received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for after-play activity in the wake of the score. As tempers died down, the Panthers blocked Dawson’s extra-point attempt, and the Bulldogs retired to the halftime locker leading 21-6.
Any hopes the Panthers had of turning things around during the second half were quickly killed when Nettles returned the second-half kickoff 75-yards for another Bulldogs touchdown and Owens punched in his second two-point conversion of the night.
Nettles struck for a third time, scoring on a 4-yard run, and Rabb connected with Tucker on a 44-yard TD strike.
Dawson, who had two PAT kicks blocked, notched in the extra point, and Rabb rounded out the JUB scoring with a 20-yard scoring jaunt just as the final period got under way. Dawson added the PAT, and the Bulldogs were in front, 49-6.
The Panthers attempted to rally late in the fourth quarter but managed to close their deficit only by a touchdown on a 35-yard pass play.
“We wanted to throw to J.T. (Tucker) more than we did,” JUB head coach Wes Sims said. “They put double coverage on J.T. all night. That in return opened up more options on the rest of the field. We played a really great game. Our key so far has been staying healthy, and we plan on continuing that.”
Sims added that special teams have also contributed to the team’s success of late.
JUB will host Washington County this Friday, October 4., in a key Class 2A, Region 1 matchup.
The Bulldogs go into Friday’s game with a 2-1 region mark, leaving them one game behind co-leaders Leroy and Cottage Hill Christian, who are both 3-0 within the region.