FORNEY, Texas — The Jackrabbit Defense did all they could to hold off the Royse City Bulldogs Friday night, while the offense continues to struggle and unable to produce points.

The Jackrabbits travelled to Royse City ISD Stadium where they fell 34-7 to the Bulldogs. The loss puts the Jackrabbits at 2-3 for the season, and 1-2 in District 8 5AII. The Bulldogs improve to 4-0 on the season and and 2-0 in district play.

Forney mustered up 228 total yards for the night compared to the 511 put up by Royse City. Senior QB Campbell Anderson led the Jackrabbits offense with 78 yards rushing on 17 carries and going 5 of 11 for 80 yards passing. The Bulldog offense was led by RB Bryce Martinez who carried the ball 21 times for 156 yard on the ground. However much of the scoring for Royse City was done by a couple of move-ins from Lancaster, including Sophomore RB Ahmon Petty Dozier (7 carries for 48 and 2 TDs) and Junior WR Ketron Jackson (6 catches for 68 and 1 TD). Payton Petroff and Tyson Oliver got their touches as well. Petroff had 8 carries for 49 yards and Oliver with 12 carries for 55 yards and a TD as well.

The first quarter found the score at 0-0 as the Jackrabbit defense played inspired football. However a botched punt at the start of the second quarter gave the ball to the Bulldogs on the Jackrabbit 29 yard line proved to be too large an obstacle for the defense to overcome as QB Oliver found Jackson for a 13 yard diving catch in the end zone. A touchdown run by Petty-Dozier and a 21 yard field goal by Anthony Ortiz gave the Bulldogs a 17-0 lead at halftime.

The Jackrabbits received the kickoff to start the second half and Forney QB Anderson led a drive that ultimately resulted in the only score of the night for the Jackrabbits. With starting Center AJ Shultz out of the game with an injury, backup OL Hunter Flaishians came into the game to handle the All-District DL Jamie Cortez. Flaishians was up to the task as the Jackrabbits drove 75 yards down field on 12 plays. 41 of which Anderson called his own number carrying the ball 6 times on the drive and capped off by a 1 yard TD by Sophomore RB Josh Stephens, his first of hopefully many as a Jackrabbit.

Trailing 17-7, the defense was asked to hold the Bulldogs in check at a crucial moment in the game. They forced a turnover on downs thanks to the aggressive pass rush of Sr DB Westin Beeman. He had a sack as well as a QB hurry on 4th down giving the Offense the ball back at their own 32 yard line with 6:51 left in the 3rd quarter. A couple of short runs by Jayln Phillips and an incomplete pass forced the Jackrabbits to punt into the wind once again. The Bulldogs took over at the the Jackrabbit 49 yard line. A 33 yard run by Petty-Dozier and an 18 yard run by Oliver that found the end zone put the Bulldogs up 24-7. 3 plays and another punt into the wind by the Jackrabbits gave the ball back to the Bulldogs, this time at the Jackrabbit 24 yard line. The Jackrabbit Defense forced the Bulldogs backwards, but once again Anthony Ortiz comes in to kick a field goal, this one good from 40 yards making the score 27-7. Then the Jackrabbits go 36 yards on 9 plays, but a bobbled snap on a field goal attempt gives the ball back over to Royse City. Petty-Dozier provided the final score for the evening on a 4 yard run making the final 34-7.

While the loss does not put the Jackrabbits mathematically out of the playoffs, it certainly makes the feat much more difficult. The Jackrabbits will need to beat Sulphur Springs, Greenville and Kaufman (all games the Jackrabbits should be favored to win) as well as knocking off either Ennis or Corsicana (both with wins over North Forney). Friday night the Jackrabbits will host the Sulphur Springs Wildcats at City Bank Stadium for another District 8 5AII match up. The Wildcats are 0-5 on the season and 0-3 in district play. Could be good night for Forney to get its offense back on track.

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