BLANCHESTER — Shawnee’s defense and special teams made the difference-making plays Saturday night as the Braves defeated Blanchester 23-6 in a Region 20 quarterfinal game at Barbour Memorial Field.
With the two teams separated by just one play from scrimmage and one total yard of offense, the game was decided by three Blanchester turnovers and several huge stops from the Shawnee defense.
After a scoreless first quarter, Shawnee opened the scoring with 7:15 left in the half on a Drew Mitch three-yard touchdown. The Braves led 6-0.
Blake Richard would pull the home side even with 1:54 left in the half on a 23-yard touchdown scamper. A missed extra point kept the score even.
What followed was a wild series of events that involved Blanchester recovering the onside kick, the Wildcats losing 16 yards on the first play from scrimmage and a fake punt on fourth and 21 that made it fourth and six, which Blanchester would convert.
The drive stalld at the Shawnee 37 in the waning seconds of the half, and the score remained tied at the intermission.
The first seven minutes of the third quarter likely decided the outcome. Shawnee marched down field on a drive covering 65 yards and using up 5:31 on the clock. Tyler Mercer finished the drive with a four-yard run. Shawnee led 13-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, Blanchester fumbled and Shawnee recovered at the Wildcat 35. After the drive stalled at the Blanchester 20, Shawnee kicker Adam Myers booted through a 37-yard field goal.
“That turnover didn’t help anything,” BHS head coach Jon Mulvihill said. “I thought when I watched the film that he was down. There were a lot of calls that didn’t go our way.”
Blanchester’s offense had not yet seen the field in the third quarter, and with 4:51 left in the third, trailed by 10.
Seven times Blanchester entered Shawnee territory. Only one time did the Wildcats score. Blanchester’s final three drives of the night reached the Shawnee 19, 13 and 32. The Shawnee defense came up with stops each time.
“We had multiple opportunities inside the 30-yard line to score,” Mulvihill said. “We just made a mistake here and there. Little things that needed to be corrected in order to win this game. It just didn’t happen for us tonight.”
Mercer finished with 78 yards rushing and a touchdown. Mitch had 39 yards rushing and a touchdown to go with 167 yards and a touchdown passing.
Gage Huston finished with 87 yards on 12 carries. Colt Conover had 73 all-purpose yards. Brayden Sipple threw for 173 yards but was held without a touchdown pass for the first time all season.
It is undecided at this point whether Blanchester will schedule additional games. Mulvihill said they should know by Monday if that will be the case.
Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020
At Barbour Memorial Field, Blanchester
OHSAA Division V, Region 20 Third Round
Shawnee 23, Blanchester 6
S – Drew Mitch 3-yard run (kick failed) 7:15
B – Blake Richard 23-yard run (kick failed) 1:54
S – Tyler Mercer 4-yard run (Adam Myers kick) 6:29
S – Myers 37-yard FG, 4:51
S – Mitch 10-yard pass to Evan Thomas (Myers kick) 3:16
TEAM STATS: PLAYS: S 61; B 60. FIRST DOWNS: S 22; B 14. RUSHES-YARDS: S 43-131; B 32-124. PASSING YARDS: S 167; B 173. COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS S 10-18-0; B 13-28-2. TOTAL YARDS: S 298; B 297. PENALTIES-YARDS: S 3-30; B 5-60. FUMBLES-LOST: S 0-0; B 3-1. TIME OF POSSESSION: S 25:52; B 21:59.
Rushing (carries-yards): S Tyler Mercer 18-78 TD; Drew Mitch 18-39 TD; Braylon Brim 3-7; Jamon Miller 3-6. B Gage Huston 12-87; Blake Richard 1-23 TD; Brayden Sipple 11-11; Colt Conover 5-10.
Receiving (catches-yards): S David Hawk 4-76; Jamon Miller 1-36; RJ Griffin 1-19; Rudy Scanlon 2-15; Cameron Brucker 1-11; Evan Thomas 1-10 TD. B Trenton Czaika 3-77; Colt Conover 8-63; Gage Huston 1-14; Adam Frump 1-27.
Passing: S Drew Mitch 10-18-0 167 yds TD. B Brayden Sipple 13-28-2 173 yards.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.