Close your eyes, give me your hand, darlin’
Do you feel my heart beating
Do you understand
Do you feel the same
Am I only dreaming
Is this burning an eternal flame
I believe it’s meant to be, darlin’
I watch you when you are sleeping
You belong with me
Do you feel the same
Am I only dreaming
Or is this burning an eternal flame
Oh this part is supposed to be about the Bengals? My mistake.
It was over when — Braydon Roberts caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Austin Emery with 9:45 left in the second quarter to give Denison a 28-0 lead. The Jackets had just recovered a fumble and the second play from scrimmage saw Roberts get behind his man on the right side, the safety was late coming over and the senior receiver raced to the end zone.
It was really over when — Denison forced a punt in the middle of the second quarter. Braswell was down 35-0 and had a 17-yard pass set up first-and-10 at the Jacket 44-yard line. The next three plays lost three yards and the Bengals punted. Denison went the other way 80 yards in seven plays for the 42-0 half-time lead. If Braswell had come away with points, maybe there was hope. Alas, ‘twas none.
Player of the Game — Running back Bubba Roberts. The senior led Denison with 16 carries for 89 yards and scored three touchdowns, including on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter to give the Jackets a 42-0 lead. He also opened the game with a 43-yard kickoff return to the Braswell 42 to set up Denison’s first TD drive and had a 15-yard catch on third-and-1o at the Braswell 16, just missing a fourth score but allowed the Jackets to take a 21-0 lead on first and goal on the next snap.
Play of the Game — Kenny Gaffney’s 35-yard punt return to the Braswell 10-yard line. Denison was up 7-0 in the later stages of the first quarter. But the Jackets just had turned the ball over on downs on back-to-back possessions. It could have easily been 21-0 after seven minutes. Instead, the Bengals had some life after those stops. The game was still close. Braswell punted from its 15 and after Gaffney broke loose to the left side, Denison ran its first play with goal to go. DeCurious Smith scored on that first snap — starting a string of five straight touchdown drives to close out the first half.
The good — The Jackets got clinching a playoff spot out of the way and set up a juicy final two weeks. There were no major injuries. That’s a big, big deal this time of year. The offense scored on six of eight first half drives. From the first quarter to the third quarter Denison scored on seven straight possessions. They didn’t score on four in the game, and one was to end the contest. Another 55-plus point night, which was the third of the season. If the Jackets wanted, they could have had four 100-yard rushers. Maybe five if they really tried, which is amazing to say since they didn’t have one player break the century mark. The backs ran hard and the holes were there. Austin Emery connected on 7-of-11 throws in cold, windy weather and that was good to see. Defensively, it was the first shutout in nearly a decade. Braswell finished with 97 yards on 49 plays. They ran 35 times for 50 yards and 15 of those carries lost yardage. They only gained 34 yards after half-time. On special teams, there were big returns in both kicking games and the kickoff coverage was very good. And there were no punts, which definitely says how good things were going.
The bad — Denison went for it on on fourth down two straight possessions in the first quarter at the Braswell 14 and 18 yard lines and failed. That’s it. That’s the list.
District dish — In addition to Denison’s victory against Braswell, Rider beat Denton, 47-7, and Denton Ryan beat Wichita Falls, 41-13, with Sherman having the bye. The standings have Denison and Ryan at 4-0, Rider is 3-1, Sherman is 2-2, Braswell is 1-3, Denton is 1-4 and Wichita Falls is 0-5. This week Braswell plays at Rider on Thursday before Denison hosts Denton Ryan and Sherman plays at Wichita Falls on Friday. Denton has the bye. Playoff picture sees Denton Ryan and Denison having clinched playoff spots. Sherman and Rider are one more win, or in Sherman’s case a Braswell loss, from getting the other two spots. Denton and Wichita Falls have been eliminated.
Stinging stats of the week — The Jackets are 7-1 for the first time since 2009 and it is the most victories by the program since that season ended 13-2 in the state semifinals…The Jackets earned their first shutout in 100 games, dating back to a 58-0 victory against McKinney North in 2008. It is the also the largest shutout win and the largest margin of victory overall since that contest against North…Denison allowed 75 or fewer rushing yards in a game for the fourth time this season…The Jackets allowed a season-low 47 passing yards and a season-low 97 overall yards…Austin Emery moved to 15th on the Denison career passing list with 1,307 yards. He is 656 yards from the top 10…Emery moved to 28th on the Denison career rushing yards list with 1,236. He is 157 from the top 25…Emery scored the 170th point of his career and moved to 15th on the all-time Denison scoring list with 165 points (17 touchdowns, 65 extra points, two field goals). He is six points from the top 15 and 39 from the top 10…Kenny Gaffney moved to 37th all-time in Denison rushing, becoming the 37th Jacket with 1,000 career rushing yards. He is 52 yards from the top 35…Darrian Butler had a career high 10 carries for a career high 77 yards. He also scored his first varsity touchdown…Pierce Barker had his first varsity carries, three, for four yards. Barker also had a career high 32 receiving yards…Kyrion Rosser had his first varsity catch, for eight yards…Javen Stewart recovered a fumble…Denison did not punt…Braswell had just four first downs.