In a game that each team needed to win in order to ensure a home game for the 7th District playoffs, Bryan Station gashed Paul Laurence Dunbar Thursday night on big play after big play en route to a 54-20 road blowout.
Junior running back Chris Jones scored three TDs in the fall break contest. The first, a 78-yard cutback around the heart of the defensive line, opened the scoring in the second quarter after the Defenders turned Dunbar over on downs on the Bulldogs’ fourth possession.
“Seen daylight,” Jones said of the breakaway. Jones credited junior center Michael Thomas with opening the hole and putting him in a race with the secondary to the left corner of the end zone. Jones didn’t lack for confidence after the Defenders evened their record at 4-4 heading into two more district matchups against Scott County and Henry Clay to finish out the regular season. “We plan on going all the way, truthfully. We’ve got to just get everything together. … One step at a time.”
As Dunbar (2-5) struggled to find an offensive rhythm, Station scored on five consecutive possessions to take command of the game. The average time of possession in that charge? Fifty-nine seconds.
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“It’s all about executing,” Station Coach Frank Parks Jr., said. “At this time of the season, we’ve have to do a better job of making sure that we’re doing what we’re taught. They came out in that second quarter and played well.”
Sophomore quarterback Jalen Burbage, who finished the day with three passing TDs and 147 yards on 10 of 23 attempts, hit Kendrick Curry on scoring plays of 33 and 9 yards to put Station up 21-0 going into halftime.
“(Burbage) did well,” Parks said. “He’s starting to progress and understand what we want … get the ball out of his hands quick and make the right read. … We don’t have to worry about breaking the big one, because sooner or later if we get open field we will break the big one. We just have to keep moving the chains.”
Finding big plays remained easy in the second half. Jones again hit the Bulldogs on a one-play drive, this time taking a swing pass to the sideline and cutting it straight up the edge for 58 yards and a 28-0 lead. Another punt gave Station a short field and culminated in a Micah Lowe touchdown from Burbage to make it 34-0 with still 7:37 to play in the third quarter. A two-point conversion try failed.
Dunbar scored a couple of touchdowns after that to build some momentum. Junior quarterback Gavin Bugg hit wideouts Tre Homer and Isaiah Yeast on touchdown passes of 9 and 10 yards, respectively, to cut the leat to 34-14.
But Bugg then found Station’s Jones and Theo Overton in the Station secondary for successive pick-six interceptions as the Defenders pushed the lead to 47-14 before the third quarter was out.
Station (4-4) heads into another big district matchup next week in hosting Scott County before finishing with Henry Clay. The four losses don’t matter to Parks heading into the playoffs.
“The most important thing is that we’re 1-0 in the district,” Parks said. “I told them earlier in the week that it’s a new season.”