JAY – Just when Jay had figured out Hilldale’s Jamaul Cullom, Chandler Puckett fooled the Bulldogs’ defense and made the play that clinched the victory for the Hornets at J.B. Earl Stadium on Friday night.
The Hornets’ junior quarterback dashed 60 yards for a touchdown with 11:12 left in the game to help the Hornets top the Bulldogs 26-7 in the District 3A-7 opener for both teams.
“After Jamaul had run for three touchdowns (in the game), I gave them a fake and it was off to the races,” Puckett said. “The linebackers moved to the left and I cut it back to the right. I made a good move on that safety. After Jamaul broke that long one in the third quarter, they were keying on him. That opened it up for me.”
Puckett’s longest run in the game before the touchdown was six yards.
“We decided to run right at them,” Hilldale coach Chad Kirkhart said. “Chandler does a good job of running with the ball. He hadn’t run the ball that much in the last couple of games and maybe we fooled them a little bit on that run.”
Cullom, a senior, praised Puckett.
“I like the way he operates,” Cullom said. “You think you have him when he drops back to pass, but he’s really quick on his feet and can take off running. That was a good play he scored on. The coaches called a fake stretch to me. The linemen did a good job of blocking and Chandler found the hole he was supposed to go through.”
Puckett finished with 83 yards on 16 carries. Cullom, though, had 104 yards on 12 totes and his third and final TD was a 45-yard scamper with 10:03 left in the third period.
The Hornets improved to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in district.
The Hornets took a 14-0 lead into the locker room on the strength of Cullom’s two touchdown runs. The first was for 21 yards with 0:09 left in the first period. The other, with 1:19 left in the half, was from four yards out.
Hilldale’s defense can get a share of the credit for the first half.
After the Hornets turned the ball over on downs, the defense forced Taylor Foster to fumble at his 25 yard line. Two plays later, Cullom scored his first TD.
Three possessions later, Hilldale marched 50 yards in six plays and Cullom finished off the drive with his second TD. Cullom gained 59 yards on eight carries in the first half.
It was a week ago when the senior ran for 91 yards on just three carries and scored a pair of 40-yard touchdown runs in the win against Beggs.
Jay (3-1, 0-1) averted the shutout when Christian Duffield scored from one-yard out with 11:32 left in the game to cut Hilldale’s lead to 20-7 after the extra point.
Duffield finished with 29 yards on eight carries. Quarterback Shai Jones had 47 yards rushing on 14 carries and completed 8 of 16 passes for 57 yards. Foster ran for 40 yards on 13 carries.
The Hornets hit the road next Friday when they play at Inola. The next home game is Oct. 7 against Lincoln Christian.
HILLDALE 26, JAY 7
Hilldale 7 7 6 6–26
Jay 0 0 0 7–7
Hilldale – Jamaul Cullom 21 run (Chandler Puckett kick), 0:09
Hilldale – Cullom 4 run (Puckett kick),1:19
Hilldale – Cullom 45 run (kick failed), 10:03
Jay – Christian Duffield 1 run (Sergio Perez kick), 11:32
Hilldale – Chandler Puckett 60 run (pass failed), 11:12
First Downs 14 10
Rushes-Yards 39-214 37-117
Passing Yards 57 65
Passing (C-A-I) 8-18-1 9-17-2
Punts-Avg. 5-30.4 7-29.0
Penalties-Yards 9-50 7-47
Rushing: Hilldale, Jamaul Cullom 12-104, Chandler Puckett 16-83. Jay, Shai Jones 14-47.
Passing: Hilldale, Chandler Puckett 8-18-1—57. Jay, Shai Jones 8-16-2—57.
Receiving: Hilldale, Dylan Duncan 3-26. Jay, Taylor Foster 3-24.