Fraga nears 300-yard mark to ensure first Bulldog win; Senior back crosses goal line six times in 47-6 blowout of RBS

CONVOY-Latrone Bowman (5), Baltazar Sebastian (34), and Matt Fraga (23) prepare to throw blocks for return-man Dalton Smith as he turns upfield. (photo courtesy Billy Kendall)

CONVOY-Latrone Bowman (5), Baltazar Sebastian (34), and Matt Fraga (23) prepare to throw blocks for return-man Dalton Smith as he turns upfield. (photo courtesy Billy Kendall)

Published October 2, 2013

By THOMAS P. WEAVER, HORIZON Editor

CELINA-Senior feature-back Jayar Fraga had apparently taken all he could heading into last Friday night’s homecoming game here between the Clay County and Red Boiling Springs Bulldogs.

In his final season wearing black and gold, Fraga had seen his team fall to 0-4 and saying he decided to do something about it is an understatement.

The CCHS captain broke loose for 296 yards and five touchdowns on only 13 carries (22.8-yd. avg.), and also hauled in a 53-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Brandon Stewart to leave no doubt Clay County was notching their first win of the season here on Coach John Teeples Field last Friday night.

The offensive display came just shy of the school’s single-game rushing record and led to the 47-6 domination of RBS.

“He was the best player on the field Friday night and he played like it,” head coach Chad Barger said.  “He’s our leader and our offense runs through him.

“He can take it the distance at any given time and he showed that Friday night.”

Fraga’s touchdown runs came from 73, 57, 49, 39, and 16 yards out respectively, and his scoring catch covered 53 yards, leaving no doubt in his big-play ability.

“You get him in space he’s hard to stop,” Barger said with a smile.  “As a coach, it’s nice to have that kind of ability on your side.”

The coach said the win was big for his young team, especially with the adversity the squad has had to overcome injury-wise so far this season.

“It always good to get that first one,” he said.  “It’s good for morale, especially the way we won the game.

“We put it away like we should… the guys played well and took care of business like they were supposed to.”

When questioned about the difference between Friday night and the other four games the Dawgs came up short in this year, Barger said he thought his team had begun to “buy in” to his system and also explained they matched up better with Red Boiling.

“It usually takes a few games before things start to click and we’ve played some pretty good teams early this year,” the coach said.  “Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be that big of a margin, but our guys really put it together, blocked well, played good defense, and Jayar did his thing.

“If that happens on a regular basis, we’ll be alright from here on out.”

The coach said he hoped his team would use the win as a springboard heading into the last half of the season.

“We can control the rest of the season by what we do,” he said.  “As coaches, we’ve got to rally around the players we’ve got left and use this as motivation as we move forward.”

The team did suffer another big loss in the victory as senior lineman Sloane Tiernan broke his leg and will be out for the remainder of the season.

He joins Taylor and Tyler Strong, Tyson Flemming, and Jordan Collins on the list of offensive lineman to succumb to injury this season.

“Those guys were our starting five offensive lineman heading into the season and now we are playing without them,” Barger said.  “That’s a first for me.”

The Bulldogs will host Pickett County (1-5) here this Friday night in their final District 7-A contest of the year.

“It’s a game we should win, especially if we play like we did last Friday night,” Barger said, “but anything’s possible on Friday nights.

“We’ll have to be ready to play, because they’ve felt what it feels like to win already this season and I’m sure they’ll come in here ready.”

Gametime with the Bobcats in 7 p.m. and the contest can also be heard on 107.9 FM.

SENIOR STOP-Seniors Brandon Owens (81), Carl Ledbetter (66), and Jayar Fraga (22) combine for a big stop against Red Boiling Friday night. (photo courtesy Billy Kendall)

SENIOR STOP-Seniors Brandon Owens (81), Carl Ledbetter (66), and Jayar Fraga (22) combine for a big stop against Red Boiling Friday night. (photo courtesy Billy Kendall)

Game recap

Both teams struggled early on as they battled through a scoreless first quarter.

Fraga did break a long run on the Bulldogs’ first possession, but a penalty negated the gain that would have ballooned his impressive total further.

A forced fumble by junior defensive end Mitchell Short (recovered by Fraga) ignited the Clay County offensive fireworks, but it wasn’t the star back who put the team on the board first.

Stewart found his favorite target to get the scoring started.

He hit sophomore tight end Wyatt Mabry on a familiar corner route and the big target pulled the tough catch down and turned it upfield for a 54-yard touchdown.  After a Baltazar Sebastian point-after kick, the score was 7-0 in CCHS favor.

After a fourth-down stop, Fraga began his long-distance onslaught.  He broke his 73-yarder on Clay County’s first play of the ensuing drive and then made good from 49 yards out after sophomore Matt Maxfield recovered another RBS fumble.  Sebastian made one of two and the tally sat at 20-0 halfway through the second quarter.

Red Boiling then showed some signs of life as they put together a 10-play scoring drive (kick failed) to cut the margin back to 20-6, but Fraga answered by crossing the goal line a third time before the half and he also converted a two-point conversion to put his team up 28-6 at the break.

The Dawgs opened the third quarter with a sustained drive made up of a good gain by junior Matt Fraga, a trio from his elder brother Jayar, and another Stewart/Mabry hookup taking the ball well inside the redzone.

The star of the night then found the endzone a fourth time from 16 yards out (PAT failed) pushing the lead to 34-6.

After a RBS punt, Fraga continued his show as Stewart found him down the sidelines for his receiving touchdown (53 yds.) and on the next Clay County possession he capped off his performance with a final 57-yard jaunt to paydirt.  Sebastian found his mark to account for the final score.

Stats

Fraga, behind great up front line play, helped his team amass 477 total yards on 31 plays in the game.  Three completions accounted for 125 yards through the air and 23 rushes for 352 yards made up the total.  CCHS also picked up seven first downs in the contest.

The Dawg defense held Red Boiling to 280 yards of total offense and 12 first downs, with 240 of those yards coming on the ground.  Six penalties cost the Bulldogs 60 yards on the night and they didn’t turn the ball over in the game, while the other Bulldog team had 7 for 75 yards and 2 turnovers.

Jayar Fraga had the lion’s share of the rushing yards with his 296 and 5 touchdowns on 13 carries, Stewart had two carries for 45 yards, Matt Fraga rushed four times for 19 yards, and Harley Smith had two for 6 yards.

Stewart had another efficient night passing as he went three for seven for 125 yards and two TDs, while Jayar Fraga attempted one pass that fell incomplete.

Mabry was on the receiving end of Stewart’s touchdown hauling in a pair of receptions covering 72 yards, while Jayar Fraga caught one for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Stewart also had a good night on the defensive side of the ball finishing as the team’s leading tackler with eight from his strong safety (spur) position, Matt Fraga had seven stops, and his brother Jayar netted 6.5 with a sack.  Senior Carl Ledbetter had four tackles, while Tony Spivey tallied three and a sack.  Short was in on 2.5, Latrone Bowman and Noah Caldwell had a pair each, and Maxfield and Austin Goad both got on the board with a tackle.

On special teams, Ledbetter punted twice for 71 yards (35.5 yd. avg.) and Sebastian made three of six PATs.

BIG TARGET-Sophmore tight end Wyatt Mabry hauls in a pass from Brandon Stewart he converted into a 54-yard TD to get the Bulldogs on the board first. (photo courtesy Billy Kendall)

BIG TARGET-Sophmore tight end Wyatt Mabry hauls in a pass from Brandon Stewart he converted into a 54-yard TD to get the Bulldogs on the board first. (photo courtesy Billy Kendall)

Looking back

Historical numbers compiled by coach Daniel Strong from newspaper archives* show the Bulldogs have only faced Pickett County on the gridiron 12 times in history.  The Dawgs have won 11 of those match-ups with the only loss coming to the Bobcats in 1951.

The series began in 1949 when the teams played each other twice the same year and picked back up in 1967 after a 15-plus-year hiatus.  It again ended in 1969 before another Bobcat/Bulldog battle occurred in 2003.  After another break, the teams have met the last four years straight.

Due to the fact the former Celina High School or Clay County High School has only played Pickett county a dozen times and the limitations of Strong’s available statistics, no single-game individual leaders versus the Bobcats made the required list limitations (i.e. 150-yard rushing minimum, 150-yard passing minimum, etc.).

*(most pre-1976 and 1996-2009 stats not yet available)

Coming next

Since the Bulldogs’ next three opponents–Whitwell, Lancaster Christian, and Clinton County (KY)–are, for the most part, newcomers to the CHS/CCHS schedule, historical numbers will be limited.

Therefore, the HORIZON will print the history from the Dawgs’ run-ins with Watertown, Livingston, and Gordonsville in the next three editions.

See next week’s newspaper for the single-game individual statistical leaders versus the Purple Tigers, and be sure to check future editions for Bulldog legends who have fared well in bitter rivalry games with the Wildcats and Tigers.

How they fared

All of Clay County’s nine other 2013 opponents saw action last week and the group finished the weekend with a losing 3-6 record.

East Robertson (3-3), Upperman (5-0), and Lancaster Christian Academy (LCA) of Smyrna made up the lone trio notching a win.

The Indians blew out Richland (0-6) 55-8, the top-5-ranked Bees blanked Jackson County (4-2) 41-0, and LCA (5-0) outscored Clarksville Northwest (1-5) 68-42.

Joining Red Boiling and the Blue Devils on the defeated list was Monterey (2-4), Pickett County (1-5), Whitwell (1-5), Clinton County, KY (3-3), and Macon County (1-4).

Community (1-5) downed the Wildcats 47-38, Jellico (1-4) beat the Bobcats 32-8, Middle Tennessee Christian (5-1) doubled up Whitwell 40-20, Metcalfe County, KY (3-3) dominated the team from Albany 40-6, and the Tigers were shutout by Greenbrier (4-2) 42-0.

Clay County’s 10 opponents worsened their overall combined record falling to 26-31 on the season after Week 5.