By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
A grizzled coach like Doug Buckmaster knows the leap a football team can make from game one to game two. His Bulldogs proved as much on Friday night.
After an error-filled, season-opening loss in Webb City last week, Carl Junction was dominant on both sides of the ball in a convincing 39-0 victory at Republic.
“Tonight, we were clean offensively and didn’t turn the ball over,” Buckmaster said. “We were able to execute, maintain and sustain drives. I saw a lot of improvement.
“That old coaching cliché, ‘You make a lot of improvement from Week 1 to Week 2.”
Carl Junction turned the ball over on downs on its first possession, but from there it was six straight touchdowns and a turbo clock for much of the second half.
Junior running back Rayquion Weston had 18 carries for 112 yards and three touchdowns, and added a 47-yard touchdown catch.
“We made it a pointed effort to make sure Ray got more touches tonight,” Buckmaster said. “I saw a lot of improvement. The biggest thing was we played clean on offense. We created some turnovers defensively and had a good night overall.”
Added Weston: “He told the (offensive) line all week that we needed to block better up front, open some gaps. (Buckmaster) didn’t tell me (I’d get more touches), but I kind of figured it.”
With Carl Junction leading 7-0 in the first quarter, Weston caught a pass in the right flat, broke a tackle and won a footrace to the endzone. The floodgates were opened.
“The first defender (slowed me down) a bit on the tackle attempt bit but I got by him,” Weston said. “After that, I saw another defender behind me and I just turned on the jets so he wouldn’t catch me – and then I was in the endzone.”
Carl Junction’s defense was equally impressive, holding Republic to fewer than 200 yards of total offense – a stark contrast to the Tigers’ 34-24 win at Bolivar last week.
Carl Junction led 20-0 by the time Republic got its second first down of the game. Riley Watkins led Republic with 16 carries for 57 yards.
“Our kids did a tremendous job of keeping them out of the endzone,” Buckmaster said. “We pressured them the entire night. Our three down linemen up front got a lot of pressure just on their own and we didn’t have to bring extra pressure from the outside or from linebackers. Then, at times, we mixed it up and brought that pressure from outside or inside.”
Joe Kennedy’s 80-yard bomb to Aaron Ludders started the CJHS onslaught. Ludders caught six passes for 146 yards and a touchdown.
Kennedy was efficient, completing 9 of 11 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. He added eight carries for 43 yards and a touchdown.
“He threw the ball very, very well,” Buckmaster said. “I think, coming in, Republic saw him as primarily a running quarterback and now I think they can see him differently because he’s an outstanding thrower at this point.”
Buckmaster was proud to see Kennedy bounce back after being intercepted three times against Webb City. Buckmaster said the three interceptions are a bit misleading if you watch the game film.
“I thought Joe played outstanding against Webb City,” Buckmaster said. “He unfortunately had three interceptions, but two of them were our fault with receivers dropping balls or batting them up in the air on catchable balls.”
Weston’s final touchdown run – on Carl Junction’s first possession of the second half – put the Bulldogs ahead 39-0 and started the turbo clock. The Bulldogs pulled their offensive starters on their next series.
Carl Junction (1-1 overall, 1-1 COC-Large) hosts Ozark next week for its home opener. Republic (1-1 overall, 0-1 COC-Large) hosts Webb City.
Carl Junction 39, Republic 0
CJ 14 18 7 0 — 39
Republic 0 0 0 0 — 0
Carl Junction – Ludders 80 catch from Kennedy (Wall run)
Carl Junction – Weston 47 catch from Kennedy (pass failed)
Carl Junction – Weston 3 run (run failed)
Carl Junction – Kennedy 5 run (run failed)
Carl Junction – Weston 11 run (run failed)
Carl Junction – Weston 2 run (Simon kick)
Passing: Kennedy 9-for-11 for 203 yards, 2 TDs.
Rushing: Weston 18 carries for 112 yards, 3 TDs; Kennedy 8 carries for 43 yards, 1 TD.
Receiving: Ludders 6 catches for 146 yards, 1 TD; Weston 1 catch for 47 yards, 1 TD.
Passing: Watkins 6-for-19 for 74 yards, 1 INT.
Rushing: Watkins 16 carries for 57 yards.
Receiving: Hulland 1 catch for 23 yards; Duvall 2 catches for 14 yards; Jones 1 catch for 14 yards.