BAINBRIDGE — A fourth down fake punt sparked a 75-yard touchdown run and propelled Paint Valley to a 35-7 win over Blanchester Thursday night in the season opener at PVHS.
The lone Blanchester score came with 11 seconds to play when Adam Frump reached the end zone from the 1.
The Wildcats halted the Bearcats’ first offensive thrust on a third down play and seemingly forced a punt. But Paint Valley picked up a first down by Cordell Grubb on a fake punt and then Cavan Cooper went 75 yards on the next play for a touchdown.
It was all down hill from there for the Wildcats.
“Big momentum swing,” Blanchester head coach Jon Mulvihilll said during an interview on the turf at Paint Valley. “It was the first time we stopped anybody (on defense) all year. Then they fake the punt and score on the next play. That was a big point in the game.”
BHS continued to show it could move the ball, putting together a 10 play drive but a Sipple pass was intercepted in the end zone late in the first quarter.
“We couldn’t seal the deal in the red zone,” Mulvihill said
The Bearcats turned that miscue into a 15-0 lead. Cooper engineered a 14-play, 80-yard drive, going the final 2 yards on a sneak for the first of four touchdowns on the night for the Bearcat senior. Grubb’s two-point run put BHS in a 15-point hole.
Blanchester failed on a fourth down play and Paint Valley responded with Trent Mettler’s 11 yar scoringd run. BHS then had a botched snap in shotgun formation. Paint Valley recovered and despite having two of its starting running backs out of the game with injuries, the Bearcats scored when backup quarterback Dax Estep threw 18 yards to starting QB Cooper. Estep’s extra point made it 29-0.
“You can make up 15-0 but 29-0 is much harder,” Mulvhill said. “Our guys came off the field with their heads down. Our defense played pretty well in the first half until they got those two scores.”
Sipple, who showed some dandy running moves throughout the night, went 7 for 12 for 93 yards passing early but then misfired on his last five passes of the first half, including the end zone interception.
The second half was mostly played in the middle of the field by both teams. Frump did have an interception for the Wildcats on one of the few passes in the half.
However, BHS committed another turnover on the next series to give the ball right back to the Bearcats.
BHS had a long pass play wiped out because of an ineligible receiver down field.
The game went to a running clock after Cooper’s fourth touchdown of the night.
That didn’t stop Blanchester from getting bad news. Sipple struggled off the field after a late hit (a hit flagged for roughing the passer) and did not return.
Statistically, Sipple was 11-23 passing for 123 yards and an interception. He had 48 of Blanchester 53 yards rushing. Sebastian Smith caught five passes for 53 yards while Dustin Trace had 51 yards on a three catches. Frump (9), Carson Curless (7) and Dylan Creager (3) also caught passes. Frump completed his lone pass of the night to Bryce Bandow for 15 yards to setup the BHS touchdown.
For Paint Valley, Cooper was a jack of all trades — 3-4 passing for 27 yards, 10-118 rushing with two touchdowns and 2-52 receiving with two touchdowns. Estep was 7-11 passing for 158 yards, two scores and an interception.
August 19, 2021
@Paint Valley High School
Paint Valley 35 Blanchester 7
PV-Cavan Cooper 75 yard run (Dax Estep PAT) 5:49
PV-Cavan Cooper 2 yard run (Cordell Grubb Run) 5:58
PV-Trent Mettler 11 yard pass from Dax Estep (Dax Estep PAT) 1:06
PV-Cavan Cooper 18 yard pass from Dax Estep (Dax Estep PAT) 0:38
PV-Cavan Cooper 34 yard pass from Dax Estep (PAT Failed) 8:46
B-Adam Frump 1 yard run (Bryce Bandow PAT) 0:11
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports