By JOSH FRYE
A rock-solid defensive effort offset a lackluster offensive showing as J.U. Blacksher’s Bulldogs improved to 7-1 last Friday, October 11, chewing up the Chickasaw Chieftains for a hard-fought 13-6 win, JUB’s fifth victory in a row.
Jaylen Hunt and Tucker Spence led the defensive charge. Hunt tallied six solo tackles and a tackle for a loss, while Spence added five tackles and a sack.
JUB started on a slow note, fumbling on the first offensive drive of the game.
The offensive struggles were not limited to the first offensive drive of the game but continued throughout the contest. The Bulldogs fumbled for a second time midway through the first quarter but were able to quickly regain control of the ball.
Penalties hurt, and the team’s usual ability to drive the football downfield at a rapid pace was notably absent all night.
“We struggled offensively,” JUB head coach Wes Sims said. “We started out extremely slow, and minor mistakes cost us. The defense played great and gave us a chance to win.”
Capitalizing on JUB’s offensive problems, Chickasaw struck the scoreboard first in the form of a 5-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute left to go in the half.
The Chieftains faked a PAT kick but were unable to add the two points.
The Bulldogs attempted a last drive before the half in hopes of evening out the scoreboard, but a series of incomplete passes left them on the short end of a 6-0 score.
The third quarter started out better for JUB. No fumbles were recorded, but positive offensive yardage was continually met with penalties.
However, K.D. Rabb — who completed 7 of 16 pass attempts for 118 yards and a touchdown to lead the offense — turned events around for the Bulldogs with a defensive gem as just over seven minutes remained on the third-period clock.
Rabb touched endzone paint after picking off a Chickasaw pass and returning it 34 yards. Andrew Dawson’s extra-point kick gave the Bulldogs a 7-6 lead.
Rabb helped seal the envelope for JUB with just over eight minutes to play, completing a 65-yard touchdown pass to Spence.
Dawson missed the extra point, but the Bulldogs defense stood tall against Chieftain counterattacks to preserve the lead the rest of the way.
“We have got to get better offensively,” Sims said. “Minimizing mistakes has to be an improved area if we want to keep winning. This week was probably the worst-played game for us as a team all season. We failed to complete a positive offensive performance. On the bright side, our defense was up to par.”
The Bulldogs, who have been virtually ignored all season in the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 2A polls, are in good position for a postseason berth. JUB is now 4-1 in region play, tied with Cottage Hill Christian for second in league standings.
The Bulldogs will attempt to keep their winning streak alive — and to earn region’s top spot — when they travel to play Region 1 leader Leroy (5-0) this Friday, October 18.