At some point, this will be asking too much. At some point, it will take more than terrorizing quarterbacks and ball-carriers for four quarters. At some point, grinding down an opponent with swarming tackles and big hits, turnovers and fourth-down stops isn’t going to be enough.
The Denison Yellow Jackets are not at that point after two games, the latest a 21-10 victory over the Frisco Raccoons in non-district action. But that point will be coming this season. And we will see how this team can handle it.
It was over when — Bralynn Ramsey forced and then recovered a fumble with 1:46 left in the game. The Jackets had just scored for a 14-10 lead. But Frisco had the time — 3:01 left — and the capability to go the 86 yards it needed for the potential winning touchdown. First down picked up two yards. Second down was a three-yard sack by Jordin Hunter. Then Ramsey came barreling in on quarterback Carter Yates, knocked the ball loose and jumped on it at the Frisco seven-yard line. Two plays later Denison scored to make it an 11-point margin.
It was really over when — Austin Emery scored on that 10-yard scramble with 1:31 remaining. Frisco had a couple of timeouts so if the Raccoons got either a stop or held the Jackets to a field goal, it would still have a chance. Instead, a second-down run saw Emery break loose on the right side and force Frisco to have to score a pair of touchdowns with too little time remaining.
Player of the Game — Bralynn Ramsey. The mountain of a sophomore was a ridiculously disruptive force in the middle of the defensive line. Ramsey was in on tackles, sacks and forced and recovered a fumble in the closing minutes to help seal the victory. He was the embodiment of a second straight strong effort by the unit as a whole.
Play of the Game — Dalton Souther catches a 67-yard touchdown pass from Emery with 3:20 remaining in the game. Four minutes earlier, Frisco had stunned Denison with a 78-yard TD pass which gave the Raccoons a 10-7 lead. The Jackets’ ensuing drive got to the Frisco 38 but Denison turned it over on downs. When the Jackets got the ball again, there was 3:20 remaining. The first play saw Emery go deep after Souther was able to get behind his defender and he caught it in stride before racing to the end zone with what turned out to be the deciding points. It came out of nowhere, because Denison had 11 drives before that — five in Frisco territory — and never really came close to scoring.
The good — 2-0 for the first time in nearly a decade is pretty good. At the end, when it needed to score touchdowns, the offense went 2-for-2. It got the lead back with a deep TD pass and then scored for the cushion that essentially ended the game. If Denison was really good on defense last week, it was outstanding this week. Taking into account the offense it was facing (the flexbone), the Jackets showed off their speed and disruptive ability along the line of scrimmage. The unit scored a touchdown and forced three turnovers. It really only made one mistake in nearly 70 snaps. Through two games Denison has shown it will be tough to run against it. On special teams, the kickoff coverage set Frisco back with some long fields ahead of it and Austin Emery rebounded from a shaky punting opener to boom almost all of his kicks, including a pair over 50 yards.
The bad — For the second straight game Denison’s offense did a lot of nothing for much of the game. Against Frisco, it went three and a half quarters without anything close to a touchdown drive. A pair of missed field goals didn’t help but the Jackets are living off their defense right now. There are bright spots to the drives, however. And there are big plays. But it’s not even close to consistent and possessions die well before they should. The only bad spots on defense were the busted coverage for a wide open TD and Frisco’s only touchdown. To be fair, there was no real reason to think the Raccoons would throw (hence the reason it worked so well). The other was that just about every Jacket penalty was an offsides which helped a team that doesn’t need help extending drives extend a couple of drives. Special teams hiccups were cut down from the opener but Emery did miss two field goals that could have been badly needed.
District dish — In addition to Denison’s victory against Frisco, Sherman defeated Frisco Liberty, 39-14, Denton Ryan beat Mesquite Poteet, 44-3, Wichita Falls defeated Cleburne, 40-21, and Denton topped Sanger 28-21. Braswell lost to Frisco Independence, 58-19, and Rider was beaten by Lubbock Coronado, 42-28. Denison, Ryan and Denton are all 2-0 to open the season. This week Denison hosts Abilene Wylie, Sherman welcomes Mount Pleasant, Denton Ryan hosts Wylie East for a Thursday night special, Wichita Falls hosts Fort Worth Arlington Heights, Braswell hosts Frisco Reedy, Denton plays at The Colony and Rider is at Amarillo Palo Duro.
Stinging stats of the week — Denison started a season 2-0 for the first time since 2008…The last time Denison allowed 10 points or fewer in a victory was a 49-7 win over Frisco Liberty in the 2015 season opener…The last time Denison won by scoring 21 points or fewer was a 20-17 OT victory against Frisco Liberty in the 2014 season opener….The last time Denison allowed a combined 34 points or fewer in the first two games of a season was 30 in 2007 (10 to Greenville and 21 against Waxahachie) In the past two games Denison has allowed 208 yards on 106 carries (1.96 yards per attempt)…The Jacket offense did not have a turnover for the second straight game…After catching his first varsity pass last week, Pierce Barker has caught passes in consecutive games…Dalton Souther caught the first touchdown of his varsity career, for 67 yards, which is a career high…Braydon Roberts had his first varsity catch, for 33 yards…Austin Emery surpassed 500 career rushing yards…Emery also moved to 28th on the Denison career passing list with 589 yards. He is 12 behind Stanley Ballou (1956), 10 behind Will Crawley (2002-03) and then 71 yards behind Curtis Richardson (1979-80) from reaching the top 25….Bubba Roberts had a career-high 10 carries for a career-high 54 yards…Austin Emery averaged 42.1 yards on seven punts, including a long of 58 yards and another that went 54 yards…Emery did also miss two field goals…Cade Gordy, Logan Wagner and Bralynn Ramsey recovered fumbles…It was the second straight week Wagner recovered a fumble and he returned it seven yards for his first varsity TD…Jordin Hunter, Ramsey and Dayveion Lewis forced fumbles.