DAYTON — Dayton’s defense matched the pre-game homecoming fireworks here in the first half of Southeast 2B League football action against Tri-Cities Prep Friday night.
The Bulldogs forced two turnovers and ended the half with a goal-line stand to limit Tri-Cities Prep to a 7-0 lead at intermission.
The Jaguars added a third-quarter score and two late scores off Bulldog turnovers to pull out a 27-0 win.
“We played a good defensive ballgame except for those turnovers,” Bulldog coach Dean Bickelhaupt said. “Turnovers get you. It was a good battle until then.”
A high snap resulted in a 12-yard Dayton punt on the Bulldogs’ first possession of the night.
The Dayton defense responded.
The Jaguars took over at the 50 and moved to a first down at the Bulldog 36 before Logan Hays wrapped up Prep’s quarterback John Zilar for a loss of one.
Two plays later, the Jaguars coughed up the ball and Colton West recovered for the Bulldogs on the Dayton 33.
After Ben Kleck scooted 27 yards to move Dayton to the Prep 40, the Jaguars, thanks to an intentional grounding penalty, got the Bulldogs stopped and took over at their own 40.
The Jaguars moved the ball, exclusively on the ground using the belly option, to the Dayton 9, but the Bulldogs forced the ball to the ground again and Hays made the recovery.
The offense gave it back as Prep’s Dane Pedersen picked off a pass at the Bulldog 31.The Jaguars were not to be denied this time as Brendan Cole rode the belly option up the middle for three yards and a 7-0 Prep lead with 10:47 left in the half.
Lowden Smith booted a 51-yard punt and a 46-yarder to keep the Jaguars at bay, with his 46-yard punt penning the Jaguars at their own 10 with 5:33 to go in the half.
Behind the running of Rama Rudolph, who accounted for 87 yards, the Jaguars drove to the Dayton 1. On third-and-goal and 39 seconds left, Guy Spallinger dropped Zilar back at the 3.
On fourth-and-goal with 33 ticks left, Oscar Teixeira with help from Smith dropped Zilar at the 9 and the Bulldogs took over.
“That (goal-line stand) was big for us,” Bickelhaupt said. “We’ve been struggling defensively (this year). That was very impressive. That’s got to tell you something.”
Rudolph, who rushed for 166 yards on the night, scampered 37 yards on Prep’s first possession of the second half for the only score of the quarter.
The Jaguars led 14-0 after three quarters.
The Jaguars muffed a fair catch that Hays jumped on to give the Bulldogs their best opportunity of the third with a first down at the Prep 11. Quarterback Christian Warner ran to the 3, but a false start penalty and the Jaguar defense denied the Bulldogs.
An interception by Bennett Pederson led to a 53-yard Jaguar drive as Michael Forbes took it in from the 8 to give Prep a 21-0 lead with 7:05 left.
Prep’s Zak Flore blocked a Bulldog punt on the ensuing Dayton possession, and Flore recovered the block at the Bulldog 11. Forbes took it in and the Jaguars moved to 2-0 in league with the 27-0 win.
The Jaguars only attempted three passes in the game, but ran for 350 yards.
Cole ran the belly option up the middle for 117 yards to go with Rudolph’s 166.
The Jaguars travel to DeSales Friday.
With the Jaguars keying on running back Smith and limiting him to 57 yards, the Bulldogs went to the air but couldn’t find the timing to connect.
“A few of those passes just went off fingertips and were inches from being a touchdown,” Bickelhaupt said. “That would’ve opened things up for us. We haven’t passed much this year, but they are keying on Lowden (Smith) and we worked on it (passing) this week.”
The Bulldogs completed SE2B play with the loss and stand 0-4 in league play, but host Riverside Christian and Mabton in their next two games and finish with a District 7 crossover.
“We’ve got three games left,” Bickelhaupt said. “We have a shot to go get three wins. We can finish the season strong.”
Tri-Cities Prep 27, Dayton 0
TCP 0 7 7 13 — 27
Dayton 0 0 0 0 — 0
TCP — Cole 3 run (Jones kick).
TCP — Rudolph 37 run (Jones kick).
TCP — Forbes 8 run (Jones kick).
TCP — Forbes 11 run (kick failed).
Tri-Cities Prep Dayton
First Downs 17 3
Rushes/yards 66-350 31-70
Passing 7 0
Att-comp-int 3-1-0 8-0-2
Punts 2-37.0 4-36.0
Penalities 3-20 4-33
Fumbles/lost 4-3 2-1
Rushing — TCP: B. Cole 22-117-1, Zilar 9-18, Rudolph 24-166-1, Forbes 5-47-2, Bahnmiller 2-1, J. Cole 2-3, Team 2-(-2); Day: Smith 14-57, Kleck 4-32, Spalinger 5-8, Warner 6-11, Team 2-(-38).
Passing — TCP: Zilar 1-3-0, 7 yards; Day: Warner 0-8-2.
Receiving — TCP: Waggoner 1-7.