(BLUFFTON) – Throughout the 2014 season, Bluffton has struggled to rush the ball. This was not the case Friday night in a 48-0 clobbering of Paulding as Bluffton carried the ball 32 times for 223 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Clay Wilson led the ground assault with 14 carries for 82 yards and two scores. Bluffton won their second straight game and will close the season with a home contest against Columbus Grove Friday. Paulding fell to 1-8 on the season with the loss.
The Pirates put an astounding 35 points on the board in the second quarter, building a 42-0 lead. For all the rushing discussion, the first touchdown was a pass play covering 27 yards from Mitchell Ault to Robbie Stratton. Stratton was back in action after missing a few games with a hip injury and the duo connected as they have many times this season, on a deep slant over the middle. BHS really got moving in the second quarter. Wilson rushed into the end zone from 13 yards out on the first play of the second half. After a fumble recovery, senior Devin Luginbuhl found the goal line from 7 yards out just 90 seconds later. Bluffton held Paulding to a punt which Austin Bricker fielded at the 45 yard line. The senior speedster made a man miss and raced up the left sideline aided by a wall of Pirate blockers. On Paulding’s next drive, the Panthers attempted a halfback pass to the quarterback, which was a backwards lateral. Sophomore Dustin Falk scooped the loose ball off the turf and rumbled 70 yards for another Pirate touchdown. Finally, Wilson pushed in from 5 yards out to round out the second quarter scoring barrage.
A running clock was put in place in the second half as the Pirates were up by 30. Bluffton ate up eight minutes on the opening drive of the half, capped off by a touchdown plunge by senior Dylan Alt. The line of Zach Little, Andrew Spallinger, Brady Parkins, Misha Groman, Kyle Swank and Blake Sampson opened up holes all night long for the runners. Quarterback Mitchell Ault completed a cool 6 of 8 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. The junior also caught a pass from Robbie Stratton, covering 24 yards. Backup Jason Bracy completed his only attempt of the night for 18 yards.
The Pirates were stingy on defense, allowing just 136 total yards and eight first downs. Paulding committed two turnovers, with Sam Crisp intercepting a pass in addition to Falk’s fumble recovery. Kaleb Jefferson led the Pirates with 5.5 tackles, Clay Wilson had 5 and Dustin Falk 4.5. Ross Zimmerman had 3.5 tackles including a big tackle for loss.
Columbus Grove enters the final contest of the season at 5-4 and have already clinched a playoff spot. The Bulldogs are currently fourth in Region 24 and are coming off a huge 26-13 win over Crestview.
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