By Josh Brown
and David Fong
WEST ALEXANDRIA — In the final game of its toughest stretch of the season, Bethel turned in its best performance.
The Bees (3-4, 2-3 Cross County Conference) overcame a 14-0 first-quarter deficit, putting themselves in position to win the game late — and that’s exactly what Stetson Peake did, kicking a 22-yard field goal with 3:39 left to play, and Bethel shocked Twin Valley South 22-21 Friday night on the road.
The loss by the Panthers (5-2, 4-1 CCC), coupled with Covington’s 21-20 overtime win at Miami East, leaves the Buccaneers in first place as the only team without a loss in league play. Covington, Tri-County North and Miami East — which, along with South, were all unbeaten in the CCC entering last week — all defeated Bethel over the past three weeks.
“Not only do those teams beat you, but they beat you for the next week, too,” Bethel coach Scott Clodfelter said. “And we didn’t play bad in those games. We competed better than we did last year. But to lose those three games and to come out and play like we did tonight, that’s a credit to our kids for getting through that and never quitting.”
After giving up the two early scores, the Bee defense tightened up and shut down South the rest of the way for the most part, and fullback Josh Wills carried the load on offense to get the Bees back into the game. After Bethel cut the deficit to 14-13 in the third, the Panthers broke through and extended the lead. Bethel scored to make it 21-19 and recovered the kickoff, though, and Peake kicked a field goal to give the Bees the lead.
“Our offensive line played really well, and Josh put us on his back,” Clodfelter said. “He topped the 200-yard mark for sure. Defensively we played really well, and offensively we did what we needed to do to win.
“We’ve got a couple wins in tight games like this now. We’re starting to understand what it takes to win these close games. I thought the guys played really hard. I mean, we lost the turnover battle and still won a football game on the road. That doesn’t happen often.”
Bethel hosts National Trail in Week 8.
“This is a really nice win for us,” Clodfelter said. “Now we’ve got three more games that we feel like we have a shot at. It’d be nice to finish with a winning record. But we’re taking it one game at a time, and now we need to get ready for National Trail.”
BELLEFONTAINE — After being upset by 1-4 Springfield Shawnee last week, Tippecanoe knew better than to take Bellefontaine lightly.
After all, the then-1-4 Chieftains spent last week upsetting previously undefeated Stebbins, too.
The Red Devils (6-1, 1-1 Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division) struck early and often Friday night, building a 35-7 halftime lead and coasting to a 45-7 victory at Bellefontaine.
“Our last two games, we’ve been losing at the half. We wanted to come out fast,” Tippecanoe coach Joel Derge said. “We really wanted to hit harder from the start, not come out flat and put some points up fast.”
And a big reason the Devils were able to do that was putting sophomore Cole Barhorst at fullback, adding another dimension to the already-fast offense. And the defense, after giving up big plays late in last week’s loss to the Braves, played well against the Chieftains (2-4, 1-1).
“We put in Cole at fullback because we really needed that inside threat,” Derge said. “He definitely stepped up tonight. And the defense did play better. It didn’t play great, they did move the ball on us, but that’s our defense in a nutshell — bend, not break.”
Barhorst finished with 60 yards on 13 carries, including a 2-yard touchdown. That opened doors for Jakob Prall (6 carries, 109 yards and a 57-yard touchdown) and Cameron Gibbs, who broke a 21-yard scoring run on the game’s opening drive.
Eric Seeman then caught one of Brandon Gotthardt’s two touchdown passes and Gotthardt ran the ball in from 1 yard out, and Tippecanoe led 21-0 after one quarter. Barhorst and Prall scored their touchdowns in the second quarter, making the score 35-7 Devils at the break. Gotthardt (9 for 14, 118 yard) threw an 8-yard score to Bobby Hopkins in the third and Dylan Shomper kicked a 28-yard field goal in the fourth, and the defense didn’t give the Chieftains any room to work in the second half.
Tippecanoe returns home for a huge Week 8 matchup against Stebbins, which bounced back from its loss to Bellefontaine with a 42-7 rout of Tecumseh Friday.
TC North 41,
Troy Christian 28
LEWISBURG — Troy Christian had a chance to tie the game late, but a pass in the end zone was broken up and TC North added an insurance touchdown late to seal the victory Friday.
With the win, Tri-County North improved to 5-2, while Troy Christian fell to 4-2.
“Offensively, we moved the ball — but we couldn’t stop them,” Troy Christian coach Steve Nolan said. “It was just back and forth like that between the two offenses all night. It was like 21-14 just minutes into the game.”
Down 35-28, the Eagles drove down to the Panther 4-yard line. Facing fourth down, Troy Christian quarterback Hayden Hartman threw the ball into the end zone, but the play was broken up by the TC North defense. From there, TC North tacked on another score to the final margin of victory.
Hartman threw for more than 200 yards, completing a touchdown pass to Jacob Brown and rushing for another. Troy Christian running back Luke Dillahunt topped the 100-yard mark, scoring a pair of touchdowns.
“Our kids gave a great effort,” Nolan said. “It was just one of those wild shootout type of games. We just have to bounce back from this.”
Troy Christian hosts Arcanum this coming Friday.
WEST MILTON — Milton-Union knew what it was up against, facing undefeated Brookville.
“They’ve got three running backs and a quarterback, all who can run the ball well. When you have four kids like that, that opens up four to six gaps in the offensive line that you’ve got to cover up,” Milton-Union coach Mark Lane said. “It’s very tough to do. They’re very balanced with what they do, and that’s tough to defend.”
Lane’s Bulldogs like tough, though, and for the better part of three quarters they hung with the Blue Devils. But Brookville (7-0) broke a 55-yard touchdown run late in the third and added one more insurance score in the fourth to hold off Milton-Union (4-3) for a 34-13 win Friday night.
“The kids fought hard,” Lane said. “If there’s one thing about this team, it’s that they’re not going to back down from anyone, from any challenge. We were toe to toe up until the third, then they kind of overcame us. We’ve just got to get better as a football team.”
Austin Delk put the Devils on top with a 13-yard run in the first quarter, but Krue Thwaits tied the score with a 65-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Brookville quarterback Justin Heck ran in a 19-yarder in the second quarter, though, and the Bulldogs trailed 14-7.
Heck then threw a 12-yard touchdown to Tyler Horstman, but the Bulldogs scored their first offensive touchdown since Week 5, a 47-yard touchdown pass from Blake Smith to Joey Swafford, to make it 21-13. But Bailey Wallen broke a 55-yarder for the Devils to make it 27-13 after three, and a 7-yard run by Delk in the fourth sealed it.
Milton-Union hosts Carlisle in Week 8.
GREENVILLE — Piqua jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead Friday night at Greenville and never looked back, routing the Green Wave 48-7 to improve to 4-3, 1-1 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division.
“Now, we have to keep the momentum going,” Piqua coach Bill Nees said. “We have been getting stung and bouncing back. Now, we just have to keep rolling from here.”
Piqua travels to Trotwood for a critical Week 8 showdown.
Hardin Northern 13
SIDNEY — Lehman rolled to a 49-13 victory Friday night over Hardin Northern to move to 3-1 in the NWCC and are tied with three others for first place. Overall, they are now 4-3.
“I thought we played well,” said Lehman coach Dick Roll. “We gave up a score early, but their second score came real late.”
The Cavs are at Fort Loramie Friday.
BRADFORD —Walker Branson caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Andy Branson late in the first half to put Bradford up by eight, and the Railroaders recorded two safeties in the game — including one in the fourth quarter to wrap up a 24-20 victory over visiting Jefferson Friday night.
Bradford’s Mason Justice ran for 151 yards, including a 17-yard score, and Bryson Canan added a 2-yard touchdown.
Bradford (3-4) travels to Manchester in Week 8.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.