Iota runs past Vinton

IOTA – If there was any doubt as to how the Bulldogs would respond to their jamboree loss, do not doubt Iota any longer.

The Bulldogs opened their regular season with a 27-0 win against the Vinton Lions Thursday night.

“I thought we did well. It was a good win for us,” said IHS coach Marcus LeJeune. “We had some bright spots, but we had some dull spots as well.”

Iota’s run first mentality served them well with the Bulldogs gaining 281 yards, all on the ground.

The Dogs’ running back committee even featured a surprise to onlookers when freshman running back Michael Thevis averaged 5.6 yards per carry with 18 carries and 101 yards and a six-yard touchdown. He was second only to Bryant Fantroy who carried the ball 19 times for 124 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per carry, and a nine-yard touchdown of his own on the night.

While the fans may have been surprised by Thevis’ performance, LeJeune was not shocked.

“He ran well and I wasn’t really surprised he did that well, our line blocked better as they have been for the last two weeks,” he said. “But Thevis is a good runner. The success falls to both of them, but he’s a good running back.

The heat and humidity and wet ground from the day’s earlier rain storm forced LeJeune to go deep on his running back depth chart, especially with several of the offense’s key players also playing defense.

“We went with the flow of the game and what the game called for,” he said. “When it’s this hot, guys get worn out, especially when they play on defense as well, so we did what we had to.”

The linemen also were an ever-changing rotation as well Thursday night. LeJeune felt it was important to not only keep the core fresh but to get the guys experience.

“We’re trying to build depth by getting everyone into the rotation,” he said.

Thevis was not the only underclassmen to have a good game. Freshman kicker Kyle Leger made all three of his PAT tries and was left of the uprights on a 32-yard field goal try late in the fourth quarter.

Defensively, the game went well for the Bulldogs. They were able to contain the big plays, which haunted them last week. Furthermore, Iota kept Vinton’s spread offense in check with 46 yards passing. The Lions only had 127 yards total offense.

“The scariest thing for us was trying to contain them and making sure they didn’t break off any of the big plays,” said LeJeune. “Our defense did a great job and made sure (Vinton) didn’t cut loose for a big gain.”

The turnover battle and special teams also played a huge role in the outcome of the game. While both teams fumbled the ball three times, the Bulldogs lost one of their fumbles and the Lions lost two. On the punting side, Vinton had three fake punts that turned into three first downs. Quarterback Joe Prince also serves as the team punter adding to the likely confusion.

“We caught some breaks with the fumbles,” said LeJeune.

Iota’s touchdowns were scored by Thevis, Fantroy, Ethan Navarre in his one carry for seven yards and Thomas Murrell with a one-yard quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter. Murrell went 0-5 passing on the night.

The Bulldog’s first score came on their first drive of the game and they scored a touchdown in each quarter.

Vinton’s Prince went 5-16 on the night with 46 yards passing, he also ran for 56 yards on 14 carries. J.P. Pickett and Pat Williams served as Prince’s targets. Pickett had one catch for 16 yards and Williams caught three balls for 28 yards.

The Bulldogs still have a lot of work to do but do have some bright spots to build on as they prepare for next week’s game.

Iota will play St. Edmund on Friday at 7 p.m.

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