(BLUFFTON) - It was easy to note Friday evening that Spencerville had the size advantage over Bluffton, especially along the lines. But what became quickly apparent in the game’s first few plays is the Bearcats have an abundance of quickness as well. Spencerville raced up and down the field through three quarters blowing out Bluffton 42-14. SHS improved to 6-1 with the win, Bluffton fell to 3-4 with their third straight loss.
After a rare Pirate turnover on the game’s opening drive, Spencerville showed their rushing prowess. The Bearcats picked up a first down and then handed the ball to one of their speedy backs, Chris Picker who bounced outside to the left and raced to the pylon for the game’s first score. Bluffton responded with a long drive, highlighted by a 34 yard pass completion from quarterback Jason Bracy to Kaleb Jefferson up the right sideline that set up Bluffton at the Spencerville 25 yard line. But the drive would stall and Spencerville drove back down the field. Chewing up over five minutes of clock, the Bearcats turned to Picker again who scored from four yards out.
The Pirates went three and out and Brice Rayle’s 38 yard punt was downed in Bearcat territory. Again, SHS ran running play after running play. Eventually, SHS quarterback Dakota Prichard, all 6’2 and 260 pounds of him, plowed in from a yard out for a 21-0 lead. The Pirates were quick to respond. Dakota Bricker set Bluffton up with great field position at their own 42 yard line. Jason Bracy found some running room on option plays and then threw to Kaleb Jefferson for a 21 yard score with just 20 seconds remaining in the half.
Anxious to keep the momentum going, BHS opened the second half with an onside kick that caught Spencerville off guard, but the Bearcats recovered. SHS started their drive at their on 48 yard line and sprinkled in a few passes on their way inside the Bluffton five yard line. Again, Prichard pushed his way into the end zone for a 28-7 Spencerville lead. After Bluffton stalled out on offense and punted, SHS running back Calvin Wilson put the game away with a 68 yard touchdown run up the right sideline. The burner outraced all Pirate defenders for the score and 35-7 lead. Midway through the fourth quarter, Bracy ran a quarterback keeper for a 15 yard score that finalized the score at 42-14.
Coach Jeff Richards spoke of his team’s resiliency after the game. “We got down by over 30 (points) in the second half but our kids kept fighting. I really liked the defensive intensity in the fourth quarter.” After 154 yards of offense in the last two weeks combined, Richards was pleased to see a better output tonight, as the Pirates finished with 217 yards. “We knew they were big and tried to get Jefferson and Bricker involved out of the backfield in both the pass and run designs. I was really pleased with how Jason Bracy used his legs tonight and managed the game.”
The Pirates gained 142 yards on the ground, 102 of them coming from Bracy on 14 carries. Jefferson gained 37 yards on 9 carries. Bluffton completed 3 of 15 passes for 75 yards and one touchdown. The Pirates turned the ball over twice compared to one for the Bearcats. Spencerville gained 412 total yards including 374 on the ground. Brady Basinger had a huge game defensively with 12 tackles. The senior routinely was making plays at the line of scrimmage. Jefferson added 8 tackles, Bracy 5.5 and Baylor Garmatter 4.5.
The Pirates host Ada next week. The Bulldogs record stands at 5-2 after defeating Paulding 49-20.
Game Notes: The pregame had a unique feel as forty members of the Bluffton Alumni Band joined the high school band for the pregame festivities. The 1976 Bluffton football team was also honored before the game, represented by twenty teammates and coach Jim Stauffer, donning a Northwest Conference Champs jacket from that season.