OWENSVILLE — After a slow start, Blanchester took one more step toward a Southern Buckeye Conference National Division title Friday night.
Beating the pouring rain that visited Clermont Northeastern High School in the second half, Blanchester scored three touchdowns in a seven-minute span to defeat the Rockets 20-0.
Winners of three straight after opening 0-5, Blanchester now sits alone atop the SBCN standings at 3-0. A win over Fayetteville on senior night would guarantee Blanchester no worse than a share of the title.
Both teams struggled early. The normally high-powered Blanchester offense had an interception, a punt, a turnover on downs and a fumble on its first four possessions.
Unfortunately for Clermont Northeastern (5-3, 2-1), the Rockets couldn’t take advantage of three drives into Blanchester territory during the first 18 minutes of the game. It was still scoreless with 6:28 left.
Over the final 6:28 of the first half, Blanchester had three drives – two touchdowns and a drive that ended the half inside the CNE 15. The Wildcats ran 14 plays for 161 yards, earning nine first downs in the process. It was 13-0 at the half.
Blanchester’s defense gave the Rockets no more chances to score. After setting up the second score with a strip-sack, they held CNE three-and-out to open the third quarter.
“Our defense came to play,” BHS head coach Brandon Sammons said. “First shutout of the year against arguably the second best team in the conference. They stepped up in a big moment.
“They kept us in this game. We very well could have been down 14-0. They did a fantastic job.”
Two passes from Brayden Sipple to Clayton Schirmer made it 20-0 early in the third quarter. With the cold rain pouring and the field becoming a mud pit, that lead was more than enough for Blanchester.
“You saw in the second half, with the fumbles and the weather being a factor with the carries and the snaps for both teams,” Sammons said. “Opening up the passing game in the second quarter was huge.”
Thanks to the muddy conditions and the steady rain, the teams combined for 12 fumbles, with Blanchester losing four of its five fumbles. In total, the teams turned the ball over nine times.
Friday’s victory was the eighth straight in the series for Blanchester against Clermont Northeastern. It was the third straight shutout. CNE last scored in 2015 in a 62-32 loss to the Wildcats. That was the only time in the last six meetings has Clermont Northeastern scored more than six points.
October 12, 2018
@Clermont Northeastern High School
Blanchester 20, Clermont Northeastern 0
B – Destin Ashcraft 1-yard run (Jasper Damewood kick) 3:30
B – Brayden Sipple 37-yard pass to Clayton Schirmer (kick failed) 1:06
B – Sipple 38-yard pass to Jacksson Waialae (Damewood kick) 8:23
PLAYS: B 56; C 56. FIRST DOWNS: B 20; C 8. RUSHES-YARDS: B 38-196; C 43-81. PASSING YARDS: B 177; C 29. COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS: B 10-17-2; C 4-13-1. TOTAL YARDS: B 373; C 110. PENALTIES-YARDS: B 8-60; C 7-75. FUMBLES-LOST: B 5-4; C 7-2.
Rushing (carries-yards): B Brent Hopkins 6-47; Jacksson Waialae 1-11; Destin Ashcraft 13-64 TD; James Peters 14-84. C Dylan Gilley 16-26; Matthew Jenkins 1-11; Cole Joslin 19-54; Gavin Hickey 4-5.
Passing (completions-attempts-interceptions): B Sipple 10-17-2 177 yards 2 TDs. C Gilley 4-12-1 29 yds; Landon Amann 0-1-0.
Receiving (catches-yards): B Derick Bowman 1-16; Waialae 4-66 TD; Clayton Schirmer 3-78 TD; Ashcraft 2-17. C Luke Rayburn 1-6; Jenkins 1-4; Joslin 1-2; Hickey 1-17
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.