MIAMI — There was a will, just not a way.
Touchdowns on consecutive possessions helped Jay rally for a 23-14 victory over Miami Friday, Aug. 31, at Red Robertson Field.
“We were in it to the end,” Miami coach Zach Gardner said. “We were in it until that extra point and they went up by two scores.”
Trailing 14-10 going into the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs got an 18-yard touchdown run from quarterback Daylon Simpson with 7:42 remaining to give Jay a 16-14 edge.
MHS took the ensuing kickoff and got nothing out of three plays from its own 37-yard line.
A fourth down pass to Damion Burris netted just 8 yards and gave the Bulldogs possession a the Miami 45.
It took the visitors nine plays, but then converted on fourth down once and twice on third downs to set up a backbreaking 1-yard run by Marcelo Montez de Oca with 1:29 to play.
The extra point kick by Adan Beccera gave Jay a nine-point cushion.
The Wardogs showed they weren’t done.
Jordon Freeman returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards to the Jay 31, but wound up being pushed back to the 49.
Quarterback Gavin Payton got 21 of it back — but time ran out.
“Our kids were still fighting,” Gardner said. “That shows you something character wise.”
Miami got on the board first with a 15-yard pass from Payton to a wide-open Freeman in the right front corner of the end zone.
The extra point kick by Skyler Judd made it 7-0 with 8:46 left in the first half.
Jay had the momentum swing its way when Becerra converted on a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the half.
It carried over as Jay went on a monster 82-yard, 19-play drive that chewed up almost nine minutes and was capped by a 4-yard run by Simpson.
MHS countered with a snappy four-play drive that included a 6-yard scoring run by Caden Folks.
A 61-yard pass from Payton to Burris was the key play.
The kick by Judd gave the Wardogs a 14-10 edge with 1:52 left in the third.
Jay played keep away after that, letting the Wardogs have only 12 plays in the final 12 minutes.
By comparison, the Bulldogs ran 39 plays.
“We were bend but don’t break, but let them convert first downs there late,” Gardner said. “You can’t doubt our kids effort. We were one play away from leading by four and maybe convert on fourth down. Maybe you gamble and maybe you don’t.”
“We are going to have to regroup and get refocused,” Gardner said. “We have a tough one next week with Tahlequah Sequoyah.
“We can’t start pointing fingers. It was a team effort.”
Payton was Miami’s offensive leader. He netted 55 yards on eight rushing attempts and completed 8 of 11 passes for 122 yards and the touchdown. He also was intercepted once.
Folks added 40 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
Burris was on the receiving end of five of Payton’s completions, netting 93 yards.
Simpson had 143 yards and two TDs on 22 carries while Zach Coy ran the ball 18 times and netted 94 yards.