AMELIA — For a long stretch of the second half Friday night, it appeared to be déjà vu all over again for the Blanchester football team.
As it turns out, the late Yogi Berra was right when he said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Blanchester rallied with an 11-play, 59-yard drive late in the fourth quarter to defeat Amelia 29-25.
It was the last trip for the Wildcats to Amelia High School to play the Barons. They made it a memorable finale.
“I’m proud they fought through this,” said BHS head coach Jack O’Rourke. “We’ve been in this situation the last three games and we haven’t gotten it done. When it counted (tonight), we got it done. I’m so proud of them.”
Blanchester (1-4) led 21-6 at halftime. Outside of a Cage Meyer 60-yard touchdown run, the Wildcat defense held Amelia to minus-seven yards rushing.
The second half was a much different story.
Amelia (1-4) marched down and scored on its first possession of the second half. Meyer found Mitch Mentzel for a 54-yard touchdown pass. That cut the Baron deficit to 21-12.
After a Blanchester punt, Amelia went right down field again. Meyer capped the seven-play drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Now the deficit was 21-19.
The deficit was completed erased with 8:42 left in the fourth when Meyer found Bobby Wilmoth for a 36-yard touchdown. Amelia led for the first time, 25-21.
“We let down a little bit,” said O’Rourke. “The adjustments they made … it was a little bit of everything. The momentum changed. But, when it came down to it, we got it done when we needed to, both defensively and offensively.”
With just 43 yards in the second half to that point, the Wildcats mounted their best second-half drive, starting at their own 41.
The big play of the drive came on third and 14 from Blan’s 49. Tristan Greene, the No. 1 quarterback who has missed several games with injury, rolled to his left, threw as he was being drilled and found Nick Hopkins to the Amelia 30. A late hit foul moved the ball to the 15.
“(Greene) gives us the ability to throw the ball deeper,” O’Rourke said. “That really helps us a great deal. It stretches the field. He’s playing through some tough times right now, but it’s nice to have him.”
Five plays later, Hunter Collier scored from two yards away. Nick Grogg ran in the conversion and Blanchester led 29-25 with 4:24 remaining.
The drama wasn’t over, however.
It appeared Blanchester iced the game away when Meyer was intercepted by Nick Hopkins at midfield. Hopkins ran the ball back to the Amelia 34 with 3:43 left.
However, three plays later, Grogg was stripped and Amelia had it back on its own 33.
Amelia moved it to the Blanchester 46. However, on fourth down and nine, Meyer’s pass fell incomplete and Blanchester secured its first victory of the season.
Injured since the opener against Clinton-Massie, Greene returned from injury and played very well. He threw for 143 yards and a touchdown. Grogg also had a touchdown pass on a reverse.
Hopkins finished with 113 yards receiving and a touchdown, and an interception on defense.
Meyer led Amelia with 46 yards rushing and two touchdowns to go with 265 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Sept 24, 2015
@Amelia High School
Blanchester 29 Amelia 25
B – Travis Nelson 44-yard run (Quenton Miller kick) 11:16
B – Nick Grogg 70-yard pass to Nelson (pass failed) 7:39
A – Cage Meyer 60-yard run (kick failed) 7:04
B – Tristan Greene 20-yard pass to Nick Hopkins (Greene to Grogg) 1:59
A – Meyer 54-yard pass to Mitch Mentzel (pass failed) 9:21
A – Meyer 4-yard run (Scott Irvin kick) 2:35
A – Meyer 36-yard pass to Bobby Wilmoth (run failed) 8:42
B – Collier 2-yard run (Grogg run) 4:24
PLAYS: B 58; A 44. FIRST DOWNS: B 14; A 13. RUSHES-YARDS: B 39-155; A 21-48. PASSING YARDS: B 213; A 265. COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS: B 12-19-1; A 17-23-1. TOTAL YARDS: B 368; A 313. PENALTIES-YARDS: B 7-70; A 6-40. FUMBLES-LOST: B 3-1; A 2-0.
RUSHING (carries-yards): B Tristan Greene 6-19; Nick Hopkins 3-9; Nick Grogg 5-40; Travis Nelson 12-41 TD; Simon Latchford 2-11; Hunter Collier 11-35 TD. A Cage Meyer 16-46 2TD; Eli Altherr 4-1; Jacob Pangallo 1-1.
PASSING (completions-attempts-interceptions): B Greene 11-18-1 143 TD; Grogg 1-1-0 70 TD. A Meyer 17-23-1 265 yards 3 TDs.
RECEIVING (catches-yards): B Hopkins 7-113 TD; Quenton Miller 1-8; Grogg 1-8; Nelson 3-84 TD. A Bobby Wilmoth 4-75 TD; Mitch Mentzel 4-92 TD. Ryan Cann 4-60.