Blanchester takes to the Southern Buckeye Conference highway Friday night, traveling to Clermont County to face playoff hopeful Bethel-Tate. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“Right now we are playing football for the love of the game and to finish strong,” said BHS coach Jack O’Rourke. “We are always talking about playing each play like it is your last.”
The Wildcats are 3-6 overall and 2-1 in the National Division. The Tigers also are 2-1 in division play but 5-3 overall. With a win, Bethel-Tate has a legitimate chance at making the playoffs in Div. V Region 18.
“Bethel-Tate is a very well-coached team,” said O’Rourke. “We must control the ball and keep it from there. We must eliminate big plays (by the Tigers offense). We must make them earn every point.”
If the Wildcats run the ball like they have the past couple of weeks, playing keep-a-way won’t be an issue. In last week’s 42-21 win over Batavia, BHS rushed for 364 yards on 51 attempts. Tristan Greene led the way with 156 yards on the ground and a touchdown but Hunter Collier added 112 yards and a pair of scores, and Nick Grogg chipped in with 99 yards and two TDs.
In that victory over the Bulldogs, O’Rourke said he liked how his team responded from injuries.
“I liked how our kids stepped up when some of our athletes were injured,” he said. “Dylan Miller played well on defense and offense. Greene played well in the secondary, filling in. Dylan Fawley played well at left tackle.
“Friday was a total team effort. We still have to play with more consistency; we had a small letdown in the second quarter.”
The Tigers are likely to make the playoffs with a win.
“They run a Wing-T offense and are led by their quarterback Jeffery Botts and their fullback Steven Cooper,” O’Rourke said. “These kids can break a long run any time they touch the ball. They are also their leading tacklers on defense. They are a very solid football team that doesn’t make many mistakes.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.