PDT Sports Contributor
When an offense can move the ball and control the clock effectively, preventing big plays while creating long scores are usually the best way to defeat the opposition.
The Dayton Jefferson Township Broncos did exactly that by stopping East twice in the redzone and struck quickly by scoring three of their four touchdowns from 19 yards out or further to defeat the Tartans 26-8.
However, Todd Gilliland was pleased with the play on both sides of the ball and said that the Tartans put out a valiant effort against Jefferson Township.
“We felt like we played a really nice ballgame tonight,” Gilliland said. “Offensively, we made a couple of mistakes that really hurt us in key situations. (We gave them) a couple of fumbles, we gave them a fumble for a touchdown. Those are game changers, momentum changers.”
East had two golden opportunities to score from inside the Broncos’ 15-yard line but turned the ball over on downs both times on the night.
“We got the ball inside the 15-yard line a couple of times and just couldn’t punch it in,” Gilliland said. “They did a great job defensively on us when they needed to.”
Both teams would start out by turning the ball over to each other, as Dylan Wright’s pass was intercepted by Akia Brown on the third play from scrimmage for Jefferson Township.
The Tartans would give the ball right back to the Broncos after Chadd Haddox fumbled the pigskin inside Jefferson Township territory at the 38-yard line, where T’Monte Watson would fall on the football for the Broncos.
A high snap on a 4th and 25 by Jefferson Township gave the Tartans the ball at the Broncos’ 15-yard line with a golden opportunity to put some points up on the board, but East was only able to muster five yards on four plays and turned the ball over on downs after a Michael Stiltner pass fell harmlessly to the ground.
With Jefferson Township facing another 3rd and long inside their own territory, Wright would find Daviawne Jones for a 58-yard gain. Watson answered the bell one play later and scampered the remaining 19 yards to give the Broncos a 6-0 lead with 10 seconds left to play in the opening stanza.
The scoring would cease until midway through the second period, when Stiltner was hit by a host of Jefferson Township defenders and fumbled the ball on his way to the ground. Jeff Gaddy would pick up the loose ball and would bust free for a 45-yard touchdown return to put the Broncos up 14-0, where the score would remain until halftime.
After the Tartans went three-and-out to begin the third quarter, Jefferson Township would make quick work of their first offensive possession of the second half by going 66 yards in just five plays, which was capped off by a 33-yard quarterback keeper by Wright.
East would answer two possessions later by scoring on a 5-yard run from Brown on the strength of a blocked punt. Brown would then convert the ensuing two-point conversion to cut the Bronco lead to a dozen.
However, Jefferson Township would ice the game early in the fourth quarter when Shelby Woodall scored on a 1-yard plunge with 11:56 left to go in the game. The score came after Wright found Dana Gover for a 75-yard reception down the left sideline to set up Woodall’s touchdown run.
Gilliland said that even though the Tartans are 1-4 and will have to travel to Jackson to play SOC I foe Oak Hill next week, the goal remains the same: to improve on a week-to-week basis.
“Since day one, we just want to work to get better each week,” Gilliland said. “We got better for the most part this week except for just a couple of little mistakes. Now we’re into (SOC I play), it’s a new season, we’re going into (the league) like we’re 0-0. We’re just going to go out and try to battle each week.”
With the win, Jefferson Township moves to 2-3 on the season. Both of their wins have come against SOC I opponents, as they also recorded a 38-0 victory against Green last weekend.
Jefferson Twp. 6 8 6 6 - 26
East 0 0 8 0 - 8
DJT-Watson 19 run (run failed) :10.2
DJT-Gaddy 45 fumble return (Wright pass to Young) 1:23
DJT-Wright 33 run (pass failed) 8:51
E-Brown 5 run (Brown run) 1:11
DJT-Woodall 1 run (pass failed) 11:56
Rushing: Jefferson Township – Watson 13-63, Wright 2-25, Woodall 1-1, Mitchell 1-(-1), Jones 3-(-2). East – Brown 21-130, Stiltner 13-38, Brown 6-27, Haddix 3-8.
Passing: Jefferson Township – Wright 4-11-2 145, Young 1-1-0 -3; East – Stiltner 8-18-3 68, Lowe 1-1-0 7.
Receiving: Jefferson Township – Gover 1-75, Jones 1-58, Young 2-12. East – Martin 5-61, Miller 2-16, Bowen 1-2, Brown 1-(-4).