BETHEL – Bethel-Tate scored the first three times it had the ball and cruised to a 40-7 homecoming victory over East Clinton Friday in the SBAAC National Division opener for both teams.
The Tigers (4-2, 1-0) were up 13-0 before the game reached the midway point of the opening quarter.
EC (2-4, 0-1) cut Bethel-Tate’s lead in half quickly after the Tigers went up two touchdowns, with Jared Smith hitting Jaden Singleton on a 68-yard scoring strike.
The Tigers answered EC’s score near the end of the first quarter and tacked on a pair of second-quarter touchdowns by quarterback Alex Manz to put the Tigers up 33-7 heading into the break.
Bethel-Tate had another first-half score wiped off the scoreboard, a 70-yard punt return to paydirt, because of a personal foul. EC had its lone defensive stand of the first half on the ensuring drive, turning Bethel-Tate over on downs at the EC 35 midway through the second quarter.
East Clinton forced Bethel-Tate turnovers on the Tigers’ first two drives of the second half. The Astros couldn’t make BT pay after either as they turned the ball over on downs on the first and punted after the other after penalty-plagued drives.
The Tigers narrowly escaped another turnover on their third drive of the second half. They survived a fumble and a fourth down on the drive to go up 40-7 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Manz’s 1-yard plunge also forced a running clock.
Officials called the game with 5:23 left in the contest after a Bethel-Tate player suffered an injury and was removed from the field on a stretcher.
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.