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Published: Saturday, 10/23/2010

QB leads Mules to 1st unbeaten regular season

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Bedford's Jared Kujawa draws Monroe Jefferson tacklers Jacob Sterling, left, and Eric Morrow. The Mules will enter the playoffs with a 9-0 record.<br>
<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>VIEW GALLERY:</b></font> <a href="/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20101023&Kategori=SPORTS12&Lopenr=102309999&Ref=PH"> <b> Bedford vs Monroe Jefferson Football</b></a> Oct. 22, 2010 Bedford's Jared Kujawa draws Monroe Jefferson tacklers Jacob Sterling, left, and Eric Morrow. The Mules will enter the playoffs with a 9-0 record.<br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>VIEW GALLERY:</b></font> <a href="/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20101023&Kategori=SPORTS12&Lopenr=102309999&Ref=PH"> <b> Bedford vs Monroe Jefferson Football</b></a> Oct. 22, 2010
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Jared Kujawa has played football since he was in the third grade, and the Bedford senior quarterback has had many sports dreams over the years.

But even he never dreamed of anything like he produced on the field Friday night against visiting Monroe Jefferson.

The swift and elusive 6-1, 190-pounder — who committed to Western Michigan to play baseball for the Broncos — carried 15 times for 326 yards and scored seven touchdowns.

It was enough to help the Kicking Mules (9-0) top off the first unbeaten regular season in school history with a wild 54-34 victory over the visiting Bears in a game that included over 1,000 offensive yards.

“I've never thought of a 300-yard game or seven touchdowns or anything like that,” Kujawa said. “Somebody on the sideline said those were ‘like video-game numbers,' and I started laughing.

“I could never dream anything like that.”

“It's special for our community, and it's just great to have our outstanding group of kids that worked so hard for this,” third-year Bedford head coach Jeff Wood said of the milestone season.

Bedford's Erik Jones intercepts a pass intended for Monroe Jefferson's Eric Morrow with the Mules' Jared Kujawa also defending on the play. Bedford's Erik Jones intercepts a pass intended for Monroe Jefferson's Eric Morrow with the Mules' Jared Kujawa also defending on the play.
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Although the final score had Bedford up by 20 points, the Mules needed most of Kujawa's heroics because they were beaten statistically.

Jefferson (4-5) outgained the Mules 564-482 in total offense, topped them 32-18 in first downs and, amazingly, dominated by better than a 3-to-1 margin (37:42 to 11:18) in time of possession.

But who needs possession time when you've got Jared Kujawa?

“He's a heck of a quarterback,” longtime Jefferson coach Marc Cisco said. “He was very good. He's a good athlete. But we didn't play defense for crap. We couldn't stop their offense.”

Kujawa scored on first-half TD runs of 24, 13, and 17 yards, then added scoring runs of 55, 32, 54, and 18 yards after halftime. His single-game rushing yards and TD total were Bedford single-game records.

“He's outstanding,” Wood said of Kujawa. “He's just an all-around great kid.

“Our offensive line wore them down, and that's why it was two and three-play drives.

“Performances like that can happen, and that's why great teams are great teams.”

Lofty individual stats were not exclusive to Kujawa in this game.

Damon Tanner rings the victory bell to celebrate Bedford's victory and the first undefeated regular season in school history. Damon Tanner rings the victory bell to celebrate Bedford's victory and the first undefeated regular season in school history.
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Jefferson running backs Eric Morrow (13 carries, 204 yards) and James Bechard (40 carries, 193 yards) combined for 397 of the Bears' 467 rushing yards. Zak Bijarro, added 58 yards and quarterback Jacob Sterling 47 more.

Also, Kujawa's backfield teammate, senior Erik Jones rushed 10 times for 126 yards.

If the game had a notable momentum shift, it came late in the second quarter.

With the scored tied 20-20, Erik Jones intercepted a pass from Sterling, and returned it eight yards to his 39 with 2:17 left in the half.

Then, on the next play, Jones hopped into his offensive backfield spot and broke off a 61-yard TD run 2:02 before halftime.

Sterling scored from four yards out, Bechard on a one-yard plunge, and Morrow on a 69-yard breakaway for Jefferson's last lead of the game (20-13) with 5:31 left in the half.

Bechard gave the Bears their final tie at 27-27 with another one-yard plunge to cap a monster 17-play, 84-yard march that consumed the first 7:21 of the third quarter.

Bedford quarterback Jared Kujawa reaches the end zone for one of his seven touchdowns against Monroe Jefferson. Bedford quarterback Jared Kujawa reaches the end zone for one of his seven touchdowns against Monroe Jefferson.
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After that, it was the Kujawa Show.

The three-sport star (hockey is his third varsity endeavor) carried eight times for 245 yards in the second half.

“That's really all the [offensive] line,” Kujawa said. “I had some holes. On some of those runs I was untouched. That was my boys up front. They've been doing it all year. Everybody did a great job blocking.”

Bedford, the champion of the Southeastern Conference's Red Division for the second consecutive season, now awaits news of its first-round Michigan playoff opponent, and if it has earned a home game.

“We've just got to get better at tackling,” Wood said. “We were missing a couple [starting] linebackers tonight because of injuries, which really hurt us.

“[Jefferson] just plowed the ball on us. But our kids stepped up and made a couple huge stops, and we were able to get a couple drives going to put them away.”

Contact Steve Junga at: sjunga@theblade.com or 419-724-6461.



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