BLANCHESTER — In a battle of the top teams in the Southern Buckeye Conference National Division, host Blanchester reeled off 22 straight second-half points and got a late interception to secure a 30-24 victory over Bethel-Tate.
After scoring on the first drive of the game on 10 straight runs up the middle, Blanchester (4-4, 3-0) sputtered through the next two plus quarters with five three-and-outs and two turnovers.
Then the switch flipped as 16 of those 22 straight Blanchester points came in the final four minutes of the third quarter.
Down 18-7 and two plays after forcing a Tiger punt, Tanner Creager snagged Colt Conover’s pass by the fingertips and raced to paydirt. The play covered 56 yards and pulled the Wildcats to within 18-14 with 3:57 left in the third quarter.
The teams traded three-and-outs. When Bethel-Tate (5-3, 2-1) got the ball back again, it found a blue shirt rather than a white shirt on the third play. Gage Huston returned the pick of BT QB Alex Manz about 25 yards to the BT 5. Conover pushed the pile into the end zone on the next play to give the Wildcats back the lead, 21-18.
Blan forced a safety on the ensuing drive, just seconds before the end of the third quarter, when Manz threw an illegal forward pass to a lineman from the end zone.
Conover scored on the drive after the free kick to give Blan a 30-18 cushion with 8:30 left in the game.
Bethel-Tate recovered an onside kick and marched 53 yards in eight plays to pull within 30-24.
The Tigers had one more drive to tie or pull ahead, but it ended with another Blanchester INT.
The Wildcats ran out the final 4:14 to preserve the victory.
Oct 18, 2019
@Barbour Memorial Field
Blanchester 30 Bethel-Tate 24
BLAN – Conover 2 run (Damewood kick), 7:43.
BT – Manz 2 run (Kick failed), 2:34.
BT – Burton 45 pass from Manz (Conversion failed), 11:46.
BT – Dunn 58 run (Conversion failed), 7:34.
BLAN – Creager 56 pass from Conover (Damewood kick), 3:57.
BLAN – Conover 5 run (Damewood kick), :46.1.
BLAN – Safety, :02.6.
BLAN – Conover 8 run (Damewood kick), 8:30.
BT – Manz 1 run (Conversion failed), 6:52.
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.