SANDPOINT — It was a tough home opener for the Bulldogs, who debuted brand new all-red uniforms and helmets in the first football game in front of the new Barlow Stadium at War Memorial Field on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (0-3) turned the ball over seven times, with Mt. Spokane corner Jagger Jacoby returning three interceptions for scores, leading the Wildcats to a 37-6 win over the Bulldogs in a game that was bumped back a day because of smoke.
“Anytime you turn the ball over seven times, with three returned for touchdowns, you’re not going to win,” said Bulldogs head coach George Yarno, missing starting senior quarterback Robbie Johnson for the second game. “We had young kids playing quarterback who are inexperienced. The game is faster, stuff happens faster, it’s a growing process.”
Jacoby was a one-man wrecking crew, returning picks of 32 and 35 yards against Bulldog quarterback Declan Plummer to stake his team to an early 14-0 first quarter lead. Jacoby struck again later with a 48-yard pick six against sophomore third-string quarterback Jaxon Pettit, and also had several big catches as a receiver, making his presence felt on both sides of the ball.
A bright spot in defeat for the Bulldogs was the play of the defense, which held the Wildcats (2-0) in check despite several short fields from turnovers. Riley Anderson saved a touchdown with a tip, and Thomas Aleto, Alex Stockton and Chris Jones had tackles for loss.
“Defensively, we played our tails off, best all year,” Yarno said. “We brought up (sophomore linebacker) Tyler Lehman, he’s flying around, and Chris Johnson is back, a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line.”
Second quarter fumbles by Austin Greene and Dustin Norris were part of a run of five turnovers in the first 15 minutes of the game, mistakes that put the home Bulldogs in an early 24-0 hole.
The Wildcats, who also held Peninsula High School to six points last week, played downhill with urgency and physicality on defense, creating turnovers in the secondary and capitalizing on the hidden yards with big returns. They held the Bulldogs to just 63 yards on 26 carries, as yards were tough to come by.
A bright spot offensively for the Bulldogs came when Pettit floated a perfect fade pass to Julian Barajas, who beat the defender to the end zone for a 74-yard touchdown in the second quarter, the lone score of the game the Bulldogs, who threated a couple other times but couldn’t finish drives.
Johnson, who injured his non-throwing shoulder in the opener at Post Falls, is set to return next week in Yarno’s pistol offense. Plummer threw for 149 yards, and T.J. Davis hauled in two catches for 72 yards, as the Bulldogs out-gained the Titans 312 yards to 272. But it was the mistakes which ultimately tell the tale.
The rare day game marked the first football game in front of the brand new 1,500-seat Barlow Stadium, with the new bleachers and press box replacing the old iconic wooden structure that had stood since the 1950s.
Sandpoint is at Raymond High School in Canada next Friday.
Mt. Spokane 14 13 10 0 — 37
Sandpoint 0 6 0 0 — 6
MtS — Jagger Jacoby 32 interception return (Cody McDonald kick)
MtS — Jacoby 35 interception return (McDonald kick)
MtS — McDonald 40 field goal
MtS — Isaac Adams 34 catch from Brady Hill (McDonald kick)
Spt — Julian Barajas 74 catch from Jaxon Pettit (run failed)
MtS — McDonald 22 field goal
MtS — McDonald 23 field goal
MtS — Jacoby 48 interception return (McDonald kick)
Team Stats SHS MS
1st Downs 10 12
Rushes-yds 26-63 33-145
Passing yds 249 127
QB 14-27 11-18
Interceptions 5 0
Punts-Ave 1-14 6-38
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-0
Penalties 4-26 13-90
Rushing: Dillan Mitton 13-25, Declan Plummer 6-9, Dustin Norris 6-30, Jaxon Pettit 1-(-1)
Receiving: Dillan Mitton 2-47, Julian Barajas 3-78, Dustin Norris 1-4, T.J. Davis 2-72, Austin Green 5-45, Alex Stockton 1-3.
QB: Declan Plummer 10-21-3, 156
QB: Jaxon Pettit 4-6-2, 93
KOR: Norris 1-16, Davis 1-26, Dylan Sparks 1-15
PR: Norris 1-(-1)