GOSHEN — The lasting images of Blanchester’s 41-27 win Friday night against Goshen would certainly perplex someone who had been hibernating since February.
With the Wildcats clad in their new home blue uniforms, head coach Jon Mulvihill had to sprint away from two players chasing him on the Goshen High School turf with a water jug.
Blanchester’s Division I-prospect basketball star, taking his first competitive snaps at quarterback in nearly two years, lit up Goshen for 333 yards passing and four touchdowns.
He was joined in victory by several other returning athletes to the program, all of them joining the nucleus of a league-championship-winning and playoff qualifying team from a season ago.
On top of all of that, they did it in front of a crowd of fewer than 200 of their closest family and friends.
Mulvihill, his players and that small but vocal throng of supporters could not have been more pleased with the outcome.
“It’s an awesome feeling going from not knowing you’re going to get to play to winning a game against Goshen,” Mulvihill said.
Until two weeks ago, there was still uncertainty whether Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine would allow HS football to take place, as contact sports competitions were still in limbo thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the green light to move forward, at least for now, a potent Blanchester offense wasted no time shifting the engines into high gear.
BHS senior Brayden Sipple tossed three of his four touchdown passes in the first 17 minutes of the game as Blanchester sprinted to a 27-0 lead.
Goshen did not have a single first down until quarterback Jack Webster turned a third and 15 play into a 69-yard touchdown run with 5:39 left in the half.
Webster, who was outstanding all night for Goshen, tossed a 39-yard touchdown less than four minutes later to pull the home side within 27-14 at the break.
The momentum continued for Goshen into the third quarter as Webster scored from six yards out to cut the Wildcat lead to 27-21.
Blanchester had gone almost a full quarter without a first down after the offensive explosion to start the game. Sipple got the offense rolling again on the next series, completing three passes including a 31-yard scoring strike that was dropped in perfectly to Bryce Highlander.
Late in the third, Webster moved his team in position again with his arm, completing a 40-yard pass to Trevor Adams. Ashton Harris scored one play later, and Goshen trailed 35-27.
The backbreaker for Goshen came on Blanchester’s next offensive drive. The Wildcats were faced with a fourth and seven from Goshen’s 43. Sipple turned and passed it to Gage Huston, who threw it to Highlander for a 30-yard gain and a huge first down.
Blanchester finished the eight-play, 65-yard drive with a Colt Conover one-yard touchdown run. The drive took 6:08 off the clock and gave Blanchester a 41-27 lead.
Goshen moved the ball on its next series but only did so on the ground which drained the clock away. Goshen’s nearly five-minute drive ended in a turnover on downs with 2:47 left, which ended it.
The win is the first for Blanchester in the King of the Road rivalry game since 2014. That season, the Wildcats defeated Goshen 30-7 at Jim Brown Stadium.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Mulvihill said. “The boys really played hard. Last year our young guys got some experience. They got to play. Now, we’re building on that.
“It feels really good right now.”
Friday, August 28, 2020
At Jim Brown Stadium, Goshen, Ohio
Blanchester 41, Goshen 27
B – Brayden Sipple 40-yard pass to Bryce Highlander (Bryan Bandow kick) 7:12
B – Sipple 52-yard pass to Brody Rice (Bandow kick) 2:28
B – Gage Huston 2-yard run (kick failed) 0:46
B – Sipple 6-yard pass to Huston (Bandow kick) 7:26
G – Jack Webster 69-yard run (Tracker Newberry kick) 5:39
G – Webster 39-yard pass to Trevor Adams (Newberry kick) 0:55
G – Webster 6-yard run (Newberry kick) 8:42
B – Sipple 31-yard pass to Highlander (Colt Conover run) 6:49
G – Ashton Harris 8-yard run (kick failed) 1:48
B – Conover 1-yard run (run failed) 7:29
PLAYS: B 54; G 43. FIRST DOWNS: B 19; G 13. RUSHES-YARDS: B 22-87; G 36-215. PASSING YARDS: B 363; G 90. COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS: B 23-33-0; G 3-7-0. TOTAL YARDS: B 450; G 305. PENALTIES-YARDS: B 10-75; G 8-51. FUMBLES-LOST: B 1-0; G 1-1.
Rushing (carries-yards): B Brayden Sipple 3-8; Colt Conover 6-17 TD; Trenton Czaika 1-32; Gage Huston 11-30 TD. G Jack Webster 14-133 2 TDs; Tre Mowry 3-8; Brice Brewer 4-16; Ashton Harris 14-52 TD.
Receiving (catches-yards): B Brody Rice 3-107 TD; Bryce Highlander 5-108 2 TDs; Gage Huston 6-51. G Trevor Adams 2-82 TD.
Passing (completions-attempts-interceptions): B Sipple 22-32-0 333 yards 4 TDs; Huston 1-1-0 30 yards. G Wagner 3-7-0 90 yards.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.