This is how you turn a record around. Facing yet another team that had beaten the Yellow Jackets in 2016, Denison continued to find a way to get another notch on the 2017 revenge tour. First it was Trinity Christian-Addison. Then Frisco. Then Abilene Wylie. Now it ended up being Denton’s turn, and the Jackets were more than obliged to turn that ‘L’ into a ‘W’ as the final month of the season began.
That the 35-14 victory came on the strength of the ground game and a suffocating defense is no surprise. The formula has worked just about every week.
Denison is now 4-for-4 in revenge match-ups, guaranteeing the program its first winning record in four seasons and just the second in the last eight. There is one more of those games coming up on the schedule. If the Jackets can pull that one off, it could lead to a district championship.
It was over when — Jordin Hunter and Dayveion Lewis combined on a third-down sack in the middle of the third quarter. Denton was still down only a touchdown but hadn’t been doing anything. The Broncos had just gotten past midfield. It was third-and-four. Landry Kinne was flushed back to his right by Logan Wagner and Hunter and Lewis cut him down for an eight-yard loss. Denton punted, Denison went 80 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown and the Broncos never had another snap in Jacket territory.
It was really over when — Kenny Gaffney scored on a three-yard run with 50 seconds left in the third quarter. It gave Denison the final 35-14 score and came after the Yellow Jackets notched their second turnover of the frame, taking over at the Denton 26. Five plays later Gaffney took the direct snap and his second-effort at the goal line padded a lead that was never seriously threatened.
Player of the Game — Sophomore defensive tackle Bralynn Ramsey. He blocked a field goal right up the middle in the first quarter, recovered a fumble that set up Denison’s final touchdown and continually was a disruptive force as part of the unit that held Denton to just a single yard on six second-half possessions and right at 200 yards and 10 first downs for the game.
Play of the Game — Denton has a touchdown pass wiped out as the first half is about to end. Denison had scored with 1:49 left in the second quarter for a 21-14 lead. The Broncos then put together a drive and made it to the Jackets 28-yard line with 16 seconds remaining. Kinne then found Isaiah Wofford on the right sideline for a touchdown that tied the game…..except offensive pass interference negated the play. Denison held on the final play of the half and took the seven-point lead to the locker room instead of Denton tying the game and carrying that momentum to the third quarter, when the Broncos got the ball to start the second half.
The good — The Jackets clinched a winning record and remained undefeated in district play, potentially setting up a first-place showdown with Denton Ryan in two weeks. The offense totally controlled the tempo for the final two and a half quarters. Run, run, run and run it some more. There were only a few explosive carries but they seemingly always picked up five and six yards a pop. Defensively there was only one touchdown allowed and it came off a third-down scramble throw that almost ended in a sack. Denton had one yard on six drives in the second half to allow Denison to pull away. Run defense did its thing again. There was a field goal block to keep the game scoreless and outside of one kickoff (see below) the coverage was pretty good.
The bad — Denison continues to have slow starts. At some point it will be a very big problem instead of one the Jackets can overcome. Denison’s passing game was non-existent after the middle of the second quarter. Part of it was by design, part because it wasn’t clicking at all. The biggest quibble defensively is the drive mentioned above as Play of the Game was one that started at the Denton 3 with 1:32 left and almost ended with a touchdown. Could have been a killer. There is some stuff opponents have exposed in the pass defense. Something to watch for down the stretch. Austin Emery missed another field goal, but it was from 44 yards so it’s not like it was a gimme by any means. Special teams also gave up an 88-yard kickoff return for a score by Elijah Thibedeaux that tied the score at 14 with 2:55 left in the second quarter.
District dish — In addition to Denison’s victory against Denton, Braswell beat Wichita Falls, 54-41, and Denton Ryan topped Sherman, 53-19, with Rider having the bye. The standings see Denison and Ryan at 3-0, Rider at 2-1, Sherman at 2-2, Braswell at 1-2, Denton at 1-3 and Wichita Falls at 0-4. This week Denison at Braswell is the only Friday game. Sherman has the bye and Denton plays at Rider on Thursday while Wichita Falls is at Denton Ryan on Thursday as well.
Stinging stats of the week — Denison has won eight straight home games…The Jackets are 6-1 for the first time since 2009 and surpassed their win total from last season. It matches 2013 as the last season with at least six victories…Denison forced a turnover for the first time in four games (two fumbles)…The Jackets ran the ball 72 times, which is one short of the school record set against Sulphur Springs in 2003 and matches a total from last year against Trinity Christian-Addison…Denison ran for at least 400 yards for the second time in three games…Austin Emery moved to 18th on the Denison career passing list with 1,150 yards. He is 155 yards from the top 15…Emery moved to 31st on the Denison career rushing yards list with 1,153. He is 21 yards from the top 30 and 240 from the top 25…Emery scored the 160th point of his career and moved to 16th on the all-time Denison scoring list with 165 points (17 touchdowns, 57 extra points, two field goals). He is six points from the top 15 and 47 from the top 10…Kenny Gaffney moved to 38th all-time in Denison rushing at 992 career yards. He is eight yards from being the 37th Yellow Jacket with 1,000 career yards and 111 from the top 35…Denison held Denton to 200 yards and just a single yard on six second-half possessions…It was the fourth straight 100-yard rushing game for Emery…Ty McFail had a career-high 116 yards rushing on a career-high nine carries…Darrian Butler had a career-high six carries for a career-high 44 yards…Bralynn Ramsey blocked a field goal…Dayveion Lewis and Ramsey recovered fumbles…Jordin Hunter forced a fumble…Denton was held to 66 yards on 29 carries.