Bulldogs made football fans proud
by TOM PRECHT
After the regular high school football season begins, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association playoffs begin in week 11. There are 32 teams that get an invite to the Big Dance in each classification. Out of the teams invited to the Dance, only one ends the season with a smile on their face after their final game. The post season is sudden death, with the loser hanging up their helmet and cleats until the next season. The Jennings Bulldogs worked hard all year and earned themselves one of the 32 spots in the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Dogs found out how sudden the death can be and put an end to a great season.
The Dogs had fought tooth and nail the three previous weeks leading up to their quarterfinal match with the Livonia Wildcats in Livonia the day after Thanksgiving. Their hard fought victories led them to the elite eight, with only eight teams left fighting for a shot at the state championship. All three games were played in a great atmosphere with the Jennings fans lending their strong support as usual. Those three games were not decided until the final minute of the contest.
The Bulldogs and Wildcats did nothing to disappoint their fans Friday night. The fans should have been charged going out of the stadium after the performance of those two gutsy teams. The stadium was full with fans wrapped around the field aching to get a glimpse of the game. The game was hard fought with both teams exchanging blows throughout the evening. Momentum went from maroon and white to red and white like a seesaw.
The statistics were very close. Jennings led in first downs and the Wildcats had a slight advantage in total offense. Both teams turned the ball over twice. The game could have easily gone either way at any time. Neither team ever led by more than seven points the entire night. The two foes exchanged touchdowns before the home standing Wildcats put a touchdown and an extra point on the scoreboard after calling a timeout with four seconds left before halftime. The Cats found the endzone with all zeros on the clock and grabbed their first lead of the night at 21-14.
The Maroon Wall bowed their backs in the last 24 minutes of the clock and kept the athletic Wildcats out of the endzone and off the scoreboard. The Dogs were able to score a touchdown and extra point to knot the game in the third frame. The two squads continued to slug it out the remainer of the way with neither team being able to break the will of the other team’s defense, keeping their fans on the edge of their seats with their hearts in their throats. When the final horn blew at the end of regulation, the scoreboard read: Jennings Bulldogs, 21, Livonia Wildcats, 21. How ‘bout a little overtime?
The Bulldogs won the toss to begin overtime, just like they had done in their previous overtime contest with the St. Louis Saints. After losing 10 of their 13 coin tosses to begin each game. The Dogs took defense first and the Maroon Wall kept the Cats out of the endzone. The Bulldogs also could not find the endzone and both teams missed field goal attempts. No score, so we move on to the second overtime. The Dogs went on offense first and did not score, losing the ball on a fumble. The Wildcats had their turn and on third down and goal, attempted a field goal. With everyone in and around the stadium holding their collective breaths, the Wildcat kick went through the uprights giving them a 24-21 victory.
There was the thrill of victory for the Wildcats and the agony of defeat for the Bulldogs. Fans from both teams entered the field after the final play. The Jennings players laid on the turf in distress. The Bulldog fans consoled the heartbroken players in the maroon and white. They had played their hearts out and left it all on the field. They had given their all and there was no more left. They had done everything their coaches had asked of them and more than any fan had expected. They gave their best and that’s all one can give. They hurt after the game but the hurt will subside when they realize that they were the envy of many teams. You have made your school, community, coaches, parents, and fans very proud. I will say it again; it’s great to be a Jennings Bulldog. God bless you young men.For the complete story and more local news, please subscribe to Jennings Daily News by clicking subscribe or by calling 337-824-3011.
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