Third-quarter scoring frenzy by Bulldogs is too much for EJ gridders

Posted 3/3/21

The North Mason Bulldogs got off the leash early and nipped the newly-formed East Jefferson football team in EJ’s first varsity football game of the season 52-6 at North Mason High …

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Third-quarter scoring frenzy by Bulldogs is too much for EJ gridders

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The North Mason Bulldogs got off the leash early and nipped the newly-formed East Jefferson football team in EJ’s first varsity football game of the season 52-6 at North Mason High Saturday.

“It sounds like it was a lot worse than it was,” said Coach Patrick Gaffney of East Jefferson, a combined team of gridders from Port Townsend and Chimacum.

“On defense, we really didn’t play too bad,” Gaffney noted. “We only allowed 106 yards rushing, and we only allowed 99 passing yards.”

“We created three turnovers and one of them we scored on. We felt like, defensively, we had a pretty good game,” the coach said.

It was a different story on the other side of the ball. The scoring was sadly in short supply.

“Offensively we struggled,” Gaffney noted. “Some timing issues, mostly some things that surprised the kids.”

Gaffney said the coaching staff was owning those gaps.

“We didn’t get that stuff coached during the week,” he said. “They saw some stuff they weren’t ready for.”

One such area was protecting against the Bulldogs blitzing off the edge.

“We had not talked about how to adjust to that,” Gaffney said.

Blame the overall loss on an offensive explosion in the third quarter, when the Bulldogs found themselves in EJ territory near or in the red zone multiple times. 

North Mason also capitalized on turnovers made by EJ.

“We fumbled the ball four times and threw two interceptions; we turned the ball over six times and I think they turned most of those into points,” the coach noted.

The third quarter woes included giving the Bulldogs possession on the 22-yard line, the 20, the 21, the 4, and the 10.

The Bulldogs converted four of those five possessions into points on the board.

“It was a decent game until that third quarter,” Gaffney said. 

“We made it real easy for them. They had to go 75 yards to score four touchdowns. It’s tough to win a football game like that,” he said.

There was no quit in the EJ players, however, as the Bulldogs continued to pound away.

“They worked hard; they worked through the whole game. I’m proud of the way they acted and carried themselves,” Gaffney said of his team.

EJ’s only score came courtesy of freshman Josiah Pennington.

A linebacker, he scooped up a fumble and ran it back 35 yards for a touchdown.

Other standout plays included a sack and forced turnover by sophomore linebacker Gerald Lindsey, who finished with three sacks and six tackles. 

Senior Bjorn Danaan-Devas contributed eight tackles and an interception.

“He had a great game,” Gaffney said.

Junior safety Lonnie Kenney added five tackles and an interception.

Gaffney said Kenney had a nice return on the pick, and also had a long punt return.

With the start of the season was postponed from the fall until February, Gaffney said the players were glad to finally return to the field. 

“They were super excited to play football. They’ve been a positive group all year,” he said. “They are just glad to be out there. Every practice, nobody complains. They all smile. At least, I’m pretty sure they are smiling.”

“We haven’t had any complaints from the kids at all. It’s been cold; they don’t care. It’s been wet. It’s been muddy. They don’t complain at all.”

The Port Townsend and Chimacum players are playing as a unified team, he said. 

“It’s hard to tell that these kids haven’t been playing together,” Gaffney added. “They are just so glad to be out there they don’t care who they are playing with.”

“They pick each other up; they encourage each other. They definitely have turned into one team.”

The team is looking for a better showing this Saturday against the Port Angeles Roughriders.

“This week will be a little bit better,” Gaffney said. “We’ve got some film on Port Angeles and hopefully we can prepare the kids better for this week.”

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