By Tony Burns
SMACKOVER - Smackover had not beaten Junction City on a football Friday night since 2005. So, the Buckaroos moved this year's game to Saturday.
Smackover's Dexter Crockett rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Bucks to a 46-20 victory.
"I'm just proud of the whole team," said Smackover coach Brian Brown. "This team plays as hard as any team I've had and I've coached for 30 years. They play hard. When you do that, you can do a lot of things as a coach. I just think they believed in us and they played hard."
Smackover (2-0) jumped out to a 19-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Javon Modica capped a 69-yard drive with a 27-yard touchdown reception from Roshard Boone. Harley Williams kicked the PAT with 2:06 left in the first. Three plays later, Modica intercepted a pass, which had been deflected by Crockett, and returned it 25 yards for the score, pushing the lead to 13-0 with 47 seconds left in the first.
Max Gathright's sack set up a defensive stop for the Bucks, who took the ball and marched 57 yards in four plays. Crockett broke a tackle and then sprinted 49 yards to paydirt for the 19-0 lead with 10:38 left in the second.
The Dragons finally got something going when Jakiron Cook's 55-yard run set up a 10-yard TD run by Jamie Carroll with 10:24 left in the second. Junction City tried a short squib kickoff but Smackover's Jaqueze Modica returned it 70 yards for the touchdown. Williams' PAT pushed the lead to 26-6 with 10:17 left in the half and capped a flurry of 19 points in 21 seconds by both teams.
After stopping Smackover on a fourth-and-1 at the 44, the Dragons drove to the end zone. Cook found the end zone on a 3-yard run with 5:34 left in the half, cutting the lead to 26-12. After a defensive stop, Gabe Richard, hit Kevontae Haynes on a slant and he sprinted 75 yards for the score. Cook ran for the two points, cutting the deficit to 26-20 with 3:55 left in the half.
Smackover got the momentum back in the third when Jaqueze Modica returned a punt 53 yards for the touchdown. He spun out of a tackle at midfield and got a block from Gathright, which opened it up as the lead swelled to 32-20 with 9:50 left in the third.
The Dragons tried to retaliate, marching to the Smackover 7 before the Bucks' Breylon Love intercepted a pass in the end zone.
Junction City got the ball back on Jakyrion Barnett's fumble recovery. But, Crockett, who lost the fumble, redeemed himself when he recovered a Dragon fumble at the 13.
"We just couldn't stop the big plays tonight," said Junction City coach Steven Jones. "We had a couple killer turnovers offensively that killed momentum. We'd get the momentum back and everything would be going our way and then we'd put the ball on the ground or throw a pick. We just have to do a better job of taking care of the football."
Junction City (1-1) lost three fumbles and threw two interceptions.
Crockett capped Smackover's 87-yard drive with a 6-yard TD run. Williams' PAT gave the Bucks a 39-20 lead with 9:41 left in the fourth. The game's final score came on Crockett's 49-yard run with 1:13 remaining. Williams added the kick for the final margin.
"I think the biggest deal was halftime. We went in there and talked about it," said Brown. "Our defensive coordinator did a great job of talking about them holding their heads down. He said, 'Men, we've got the lead.' You know, we played Foreman last week and they came back on us and got it to 12-12 at halftime and we came back. So, I thought him talking to them, he did a great job."
Boone completed 12-of-25 passes for 134 yards for the Bucks.
Cook led Junction City with 209 yards rushing on 34 attempts. Richard threw for 148 yards on 10-of-19 passes. Haynes caught four passes for 104 yards and had an interception.