JENNINGS, La. (KPLC) - The Jennings Bulldogs have made a habit of winning playoff games by just a single point. With Friday’s epic come-from-behind win over No. 17 Lutcher, the Dogs now have four one-point playoff wins in the past two seasons.
“[It was]Crazy. Really crazy,” said Jennings senior linebacker Ethan Mack. “I don’t think we’ve ever played a game that was actually that intense.”
Although, this victory took a pair of gutsy calls to pull off.
First, the Dogs needed a ‘hook-and-lateral’ to score a touchdown down 49-42 in the waning seconds.
“That [play] wasn’t just drawn up,” said Bulldog coach Rusty Phelps. “It was perfectly executed.”
Jennings quarterback Bub Willridge hit receiver Jacorien Palfrey on a hitch route before pitching the ball to running back Trevor Etienne who ran a wheel route next to Palfrey.
“On that ‘hook-and-lateral,’ Bub, our quarterback, called that play. We had to score quick,” Palfrey admitted. “The ‘hook-and-lateral’ was a play that we barely run, but we knew that they were not going to catch on to it so we had to do it.”
Then, Phelps called a two-point conversion to win the game, 50-49.
Once again Jennings used deception as Willridge booted right before stopping and throwing back to his left to a wide-open Clay Broussard in the endzone.
“It’s never easy, but it’s just one of those things where you’re having trouble stopping people and you are in a back-and-forth game like that. I felt like, you go with the old saying that you play for the tie at home and go for the win on the road,” Phelps said. “We just decided that we were going to go for two and you were either going to be the hero or zero on that one.”
Bulldog players and coaches said in the moment, there was no doubt about the courageous calls.
“Our kids all felt comfortable about it and I think it’s just the experience of the seniors and then you have all of those juniors that played last year also,” Phelps admitted. “That made it a whole lot easier to do.”
Jennings advances to their eighth quarterfinal appearance in the last 10 years. They now will face Class 3A power Madison Prep, which is making its third straight trip to the quarterfinals.
The 7-2 Chargers boast a stingy defense and an offense led by three-star junior dual-threat quarterback Zeon Chriss. He totaled 220 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers’ playoff win over Donaldsonville last week.
“He can really throw the football and he can make plays with his feet when he hast to get out of the pocket,” said Phelps. “I think it is going to be very important that we are able to cover the receivers for an extended period of time. We are going to have to contain and we’re going to have to get some type of pressure.”
If the Dogs are able to down Madison Prep and reach the semifinal round, they would do so for the third time in four years.
“They are pretty big, strong and fast,” said Palfrey. “Of course, I feel like it’s going to be a dog fight and we are the real dogs.”