MILLSAP – Playing hard is something every coach likes to see from his players.
Millsap head coach Jake Johnson is no exception. The second-year Bulldog mentor admitted he liked his players’ moxie versus District 5-3A Division II leading Jacksboro Friday night. Though he wished he'd gotten just a bit more out of his troops as the Tigers overcame a slow start on the road to post a harder-than-it-looked 31-12 win over the hosts at Bulldog Stadium.
Millsap drops to 4-4 and 1-2 in the loop, while Jacksboro remains perfect at 8-0 and 3-0. Johnson liked his troops’ work ethic but said there's more to be done.
“I liked the way we competed from start to finish,” Johnson said. “We played hard but not as good as we can in my mind. Coach (Brannon) Rodgers is doing a great job. Their kids are playing hard and fast and doing a good job.”
A case in point was senior quarterback Brock Barron, who was 18-31 for 225 yards and a touchdown against the Tigers. Barron also threw a pair of interceptions, both inside Jacksboro territory, to thwart potential scoring drives.
The Tigers also stopped two Millsap drives on downs in the first half, which kept the squad in the game. Jacksboro got on the board with a 25-yard Fernando Piedra field goal midway through the first quarter but still looked out of sorts for most of the first half.
The tide began to turn midway through the second quarter when Jacksboro senior Hunter Jackson took a punt 85 yards to paydirt with 6:32 left in the half. Following another Millsap punt, the Tigers marched 50 yards in four plays, the last a literal pitch-catch from Payton Laake to Caleb Keith, who went 37 yards up the gut to the end zone extending the lead to 17-0.
Millsap looked to move the ball before the half with completions to Franklin Lopez and Lane Rich to get the ball inside the Jacksboro 40. But Jackson came through with a pick to thwart the drive, and the Tigers took a 17-0 halftime lead.
In the third, Mathew Rich recovered a Tiger fumble inside the Bulldog 15 to thwart what could have been a backbreaker for the Bulldogs. A short punt then allowed Jacksboro to garner great field position at the Millsap 26. Five plays later, the Tigers scored from five yards out to extend the lead to 24-0.
Millsap came right back, marching 62 yards on three plays on the ensuing series. On third-and-long Barron found a wide open Rickey Botorff, who motored the last 30 yards of a 66-yard scoring toss to cut the lead to 24-6 with 3:23 to go in the third.
Jacksboro got the touchdown back barely two minutes later on a 62-yard drive of its own, with the senior Keith going the last 32 to the end zone to extend the lead to 31-6.
With time running out, Millsap sustained a 74-yard drive on its final series. A 36-yard strike to Lane Rich, who had nine receptions for 101 yards set the table for Lopez’s one-yard run moments later.
The Bulldogs got inside the Tiger 30 late in the game, but a Piedra interception slammed the door for good.
Millsap hosts Holliday for Senior Night on Friday.