A week four loss to Bethel-Tate in a normal year, may have proven costly to the Blanchester football team’s playoff chances.
But with everybody making the playoffs in 2020, the loss will hurt only the Wildcats seeding.
In retrospect, BHS head coach Jon Mulvihill said the loss to the Tigers was a wake-up call for his players and coaches.
“Very much so. It made us as players and coaches buckle down and fix the glaring weaknesses on both sides (of the football),” he said.
The wake-up call worked as the Wildcats came back last week and routed previously unbeaten Fayetteville 50-14.
“The Fayetteville film was much better than the Bethel(-Tate) film,” Mulvihill said. “We executed the game plan much better versus Fayetteville than we did against Bethel.”
Blanchester now has an opportunity to claim a three-way tie for first place in the SBAAC National Division. Bethel-Tate will host Fayetteville Friday night while Blanchester goes to East Clinton. A Wildcats’ win and a Tigers loss means three teams will be 4-1 in league play.
But just as BHS was preparing for Bethel-Tate, a win in this pre-playoff finale may have seemed like a foregone conclusion. East Clinton was struggling at 0-3.
Since then, however, the Astros have reeled off two straight wins and now take plenty of momentum in to their home finale.
“East Clinton is playing better of late,” said Mulvihill. “Their weapons on offense are (Jared Smith, Glenn Peacock), Branson Smith and Jaden Singleton). On defense, they’re going to run a 5-2 and play man coverage. (Phillip Davis) is their best defensive linemen and (Branson Smith and Landon Runyon) are their best cover men. East Clinton has done well in the return game as well.”
Blanchester has won the last four meetings between the two county rivals, including last season’s 38-14 victory at BHS. The ‘Cats have won five of the last seven games. East Clinton won games in 2015 (21-20) and 2013 (28-25).
While the Astros offense has been balanced its last two weeks, the BHS offense has not. The running game has not been used much.
“To this point, we have done a good job of taking what the other team gives us,” said Mulvihill. “Most teams are stacking the box and blitzing and playing man coverage behind it. If teams are going to continue to do that, we’ll continue to do what we’re doing.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports