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May 25, 2020

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Bearcats stymie Pirates 

Bluffton finishes season on the road Friday at Grove

By Cort Reynolds
SPENCERVILLE - The visiting Bluffton football team was blanked 35-0 at league co-leader Spencerville in a Northwest Conference blowout Friday night.

Coming off their first league loss, the angry Bearcats stormed to 21 first-period points and tallied 14 more in the second quarter to provide all the points on the night.

The rugged Spencerville defense limited Bluffton to just 49 total yards, while the Bearcat offense rolled up 381 yards. It was the first shutout of the season for both teams.  

The Pirates fell to 4-5 overall and to 2-4 in the NWC with the defeat. The Bearcats stayed in a first-place tie in the league at 5-1 with Allen East and Columbus Grove heading into week 10. With the victory, Spencerville also improved to 6-3 overall.

Bearcat back Joel Lotz started the scoring with a 34-yard TD run just 88 seconds into the fray. Emerson Layman's point after kick put the hosts in front, 7-0.

Then at the 5:24 mark of the first period, Bearcat Brandon Bowers found paydirt on a three-yard TD run. Layman's second PAT boot extended the lead to 14-0.

Spencerville tallied its third TD of the opening stanza when Josh Henline connected with Eli Harter on a 36-yard aerial score. Layman made it 21-0 with 1:28 to go by drilling another PAT.

Henline and Harter then hooked up for a 48-yard TD reception with 9:59 to go in the half. Layman's fourth extra point kick made it 28-0, Bearcats.

Spencerville added its final score on a six-yard TD run by Lotz with 3:31 to go in the half. Layman provided the last point on his fifth PAT boot to boost the margin to 35-0.

    1    2    3    4    F
Blf    0    0    0    0    0
Svl    21    14    0    0    35

Notes and stats
Bluffton netted just 49 yards in total offense on 35 plays (1.3 average). Spencerville racked up its 381 yards on 54 plays for an average gain of 7.1 yards. 

The Bearcats picked up 20 first downs and held the Pirates to only five first downs. 

Bluffton rushed for 39 net yards on 26 carries (1.5 avg.). The Bearcats ran for 297 yards on 50 rushes (5.9), and threw for 84 more yards.

Senior fullback Tucker Neff led Bluffton with 43 yards rushing on 15 carries. 

Pirate quarterback Nate Schaadt completed five of 10 passes for 10 yards. Nick Prater caught three of those aerials, while Neff and Brien Basinger snared the other short completions.

Tyson Shutler returned six kickoffs for 65 yards. Neff booted seven punts for a 37.1 yard average.

Lotz rushed 15 times for 130 yards and two scores. D.J. Bowens netted 67 yards on seven runs. Bowers added 33 yards on 10 tries with a TD, and Gunner Grigsby netted 33 yards on 12 rushes.

Henline completed two of his mere four passes for 84 yards and two TDs, both to Harter.

Neither team committed a turnover. The Pirates possessed the ball for 22:33, while the hosts held it for 25:27.

The Pirates converted zero of 11 third down tries, and Bluffton made good on one of two efforts on fourth down. Spencerville was  3-8 on third down, and 3-4 on fourth down.

The Pirates lost 25 yards on four penalties. The Bearcats were penalized three times for 35 yards.

Bluffton (2-2 road) visits co-league leader Columbus Grove (6-3, 5-1 NWC) in the season finale Friday. Grove crushed last-place Delphos Jefferson Saturday night. 

Despite its record and 11th-place ranking in Region 23, CG has been eliminated mathematically from playoff contention.

The Pirates fell at home to eventual co-champion Grove 42-13 last year. Bluffton nipped CG 28-27 on the road two years ago.