(RAWSON) - For the sixth consecutive year, Bluffton defeated Cory-Rawson to open the season. The Pirates poured in three third quarter touchdowns to power to a 27-0 victory, the fourth time in five seasons BHS has shut out their neighbors to the north. The win was the first career victory for head coach Jeff Richards.
To get the scoring started, senior Pirate quarterback Jason Bracy threw a quick sling pass to junior wide receiver Dakota Bricker late in the first quarter. The shifty wideout made four Hornet defenders miss and raced 65 yards for the opening touchdown. Left footed freshman Kyle Koontz booted through the extra point. Koontz went three of four on PAT’s in the game. Up until this point, the teams had traded possessions with Cory Rawson gaining the game’s only first down. Into the second quarter, both offenses continued to sputter, struggling to pick up a first down. Bricker intercepted a Tommy Stauffer pass inside the Pirate ten yard line with five minutes left in the half. Safety Dustin Falk had tipped the throw and Bricker made a diving catch to give Bluffton possession.
For the first time in the game, BHS moved the ball effectively. Dustin Falk had runs of 15, 23 and 17 yards on the drive, displaying his speed. Bracy also picked up 23 yards on the ground during the drive. Poor clock management took away any chance of a score as the drive stalled out at the Hornet eight yard line as time expired in the half. Although no points were scored, the Pirates started to make things happen with the ball.
Bricker kept the momentum rolling in the second half returning the opening kickoff 70 yards. The play was called back on a penalty but progress was being made. After a pair of punts, the Pirate speed struck again through the air. Bracy quickly threw to Owen Bischoff in the flat and the speedy senior flew 64 yards up the middle for a nearly identical touchdown to Bricker’s score earlier. Now leading 14-0, the Pirates defense turned up the heat and the hits. The Hornets fumbled on their next possession and Brady Basinger pounced on the loose ball. Two plays later, Kaleb Jefferson rumbled 21 yards up the middle for a 20-0 lead.
Bischoff created another Hornet turnover a few plays later. The linebacker got to quarterback Tommy Stauffer as he went back to throw and dislodged the ball. Gavin Conrad grabbed the fumble at the Hornet 26 yard line. Jefferson toted the rock on five of the next six plays, the final carry from one yard out for the score and 27-0 lead. Coach Richards complimented his defense saying, “We made some changes with our defensive line strategy. Cory-Rawson was bigger than us. We’re trying to use athleticism because we don’t have 300 pound linemen. But what we do have is speed and our guys did well tonight controlling Cory’s rushing attack and getting to the quarterback throughout the game.”
Bluffton outgained Cory-Rawson by a 325-129 margin in total yardage. Dustin Falk gained 60 yards on 15 carries and Kaleb Jefferson 49 yards on 11 carries behind starting linemen Colin Phillips, Cole Wilson, Nate Staley, Jordan Wehrly and Justin Haggard. Jason Bracy threw for 165 yards, completing 7 of 10 passes with two touchdowns. Bischoff (83 yards) and Bricker (82 yards) caught all completed passes. Defensively, Jefferson had four solo tackles and four assists. Bracy recorded four tackles as well from his cornerback position. For Cory-Rawson Stauffer completed 4 of 16 passes for 36 yards. Blaine Peterson led CR in rushing with 34 yards on 13 tries.
Bluffton will travel to Van Buren Friday evening. The Black Knights lost 27-26 at Allen East last week. Cory-Rawson will travel to Upper Scioto Valley Friday.