Dogs travel to Loranger for sudden death contest
by TOM PRECHT
After hitting a mid-season slump, the Jennings Bulldogs treated their last three regular season games as if they were playoff games. The strategy paid big dividends last Friday night in Jerry Simmons Stadium. The Dogs entered the playoffs for the eighth straight year dating back to 2005 and for the 19th time in the last 21 years. The experience has paid off for the last four weeks and the Dogs will be hoping the trend continues this Friday when they travel to meet the Loranger Wolves. The tough schedule that they played again, like they do every year, also helped prepare them for the last phase of the season.
Jennings opened the playoffs with an opening home game for the fourth straight season and they did not disappoint their fans with another nail-biter of a game. They entertained the most athletic team to grace the Dog Pound since their last game in class 4-A against the Neville Rebels in 2010. They knocked off the Bogalusa Lumberjacks in another great high school football game. Just like most of their games, the two teams exchanged blows throughout the contest. Momentum seemed to surf back and forth between the two foes. Bogalusa grabbed an early lead but the Dogs fought back and took the lead. Jennings looked like they would extend their one-point lead going into halftime, driving deep into Lumberjack territory. The Jacks had other ideas and returned an interception 107 yards to the Media Center with no time on the clock. A little trickery on the two-point conversion and Bogalusa went into the dressing room leading the Dogs 14-7.
Most people thought that Big Mo was on the side of the Lumberjacks coming out of the dressing room. Most teams would have folded their tents at this point. The Dogs showed what they were made of and what it takes to be a Jennings Bulldog. There was no quitting or head-hanging for the maroon and white. They knew they had taken every big punch their bigger opponents had thrown at them and had come off the mat every time. They had outplayed the Lumberjacks, but it just didn’t show up on the scoreboard.
They came out and put together a long scoring drive to tie the score. The Dogs made the plays when they needed them and grabbed the lead early in the fourth quarter. The Maroon Wall claimed three turnovers in the final stanza and one of them led to their last touchdown. The Wall and the offense were so effective in the last period that the explosive Lumberjacks ran only six offensive plays. The Dogs reached down deep and found a way to extend their season. Hats off to the Bulldogs!
Once again, the 48-hour rule applies and the Bulldogs now must put the win behind them and get ready for another top opponent. But at this time of the year, with only 16 teams left in each classification, they are all good. The Dogs will run into one of the teams at the top in the Wolves. The Wolves are ranked no. 5 in the sportswriters’ poll and have the no. 4 power rankings. They have won nine games with only one loss. Meanwhile, the Dogs are not ranked in the writers’ poll and have the no. 13 power ranking with an 8-3 season mark. Loranger put 47 points up last week against Kaplan. They are led by quarterback and defensive back Jeryl Brazil. Brazil is an LSU commitment and leads the offense and defense.
The Dogs will enter the fray as the underdog for the third straight game. They have continued to improve and get better with every game. They have been down this road before so don’t count the Dogs out. They have to take it one play at a time and not get too high or low during the game. They will give it 100 percent and leave it all on the turf, letting the chips fall where they may. This is sudden death, with the winner moving on to the quarterfinals and the loser trading their helmet and shoulder pads for tennis shoes.
This should be another great game. Jennings has had more fans than most of their opponents on the road. They are hoping to have a large following to make the long trip.
The winner moves on to play the victor of the Livonia-Port Allen contest.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Loranger. If you can’t make the game, it will be broadcast on KJEF 1290 AM and the web www.cajunradio.net. Airtime is 6:30 p.m.
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