Created on Saturday, 15 September 2012 Written by MATT HAMMOND
ABOVE: Ben Logan’s Keelyn Zell breaks away for some yardage during Friday’s game at Bellefontaine. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Bellefontaine quarterback Jake Kennedy takes off for a big gain during Friday’s game against Ben Logan. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | MATT HAMMOND)
More game photos in Slide Show below
A week off proved to be just the medicine Bellefontaine’s football team needed.
The host Chiefs, who did not play last week after their game against Dayton Carroll was canceled because of lightning, rode numerous big plays to a 48-14 victory Friday over county rival Benjamin Logan at Dodd Stadium.
Bellefontaine improves to 1-2, while the Raiders drop to 1-3.
“I am really happy for our kids,” said Bellefontaine head coach Chris Schmidt. “We had so many kids make plays tonight, and it was just a great team effort all the way around.”
Ben Logan had won the last two games against Bellefontaine in the series, but the Chiefs ran away with Friday’s matchup behind the play of sophomore quarterback Jake Kennedy.
Kennedy was 14-of-19 passing with four touchdown tosses. He also ran for 58 yards on five carries.
“Jake is still maturing, but he is showing some signs of improvement,” said Schmidt. “He wants to win and he wants to get better.”
Bellefontaine rolled up 380 yards of offense and did it in dynamic fashion. Of the seven touchdowns, six came on plays of 10 yards or more.
“We were concerned about their skill kids in space,” said Ben Logan head coach Carleton Cotner. “I thought we did a good job stopping the run in the first half, but we had very little margin for error when they got the ball out in space.
“I think the difference from last year for Bellefontaine is they are doing a better job of getting the ball to their athletes in space. Hats off to them for playing to their strengths.”
Bellefontaine set the tone for the night less than a minute into the game.
On the second play from scrimmage, Kennedy lofted the ball over the middle toward wide receiver Ryan Rogan. The ball deflected off the hand of a Ben Logan defensive back and Rogan plucked it out of the air in stride, racing 67 yards for a touchdown to make the score 7-0.
“That was not how we drew it up, but when you get a bounce your way you have to capitalize on it, and we were able to do that,” said Schmidt.
Ben Logan answered with a 12-yard touchdown run by Keelyn Zell to cap a five-play, 45-yard drive. Zell also scored on a two-point conversion run to put the visitors up 8-7 with 6:51 remaining in the opening quarter.
Bellefontaine grabbed the momentum back on its next drive. The Chiefs marched 78 yards on 12 plays, with Antonio Wilson finishing off the drive with a 1-yard TD run to put BHS ahead 13-8.
It was one of three touchdowns for Wilson, who was playing his first game as a Chieftain. He moved from London in the summer and had to sit out the first two games as his paperwork was being processed by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
“Antonio was a little bit of an unknown to Ben Logan, but he also was kind of an unknown for us, too, because all we have seen is him in practice,” said Schmidt. “We did not really know what to expect from him in a live game. Once he settled in, you could tell he felt more comfortable. He is a kid that has some quickness and he can do some things with the ball in his hands.”
Bellefontaine’s defense helped create the next scoring opportunity. Andrell Roberts picked off a Ben Logan pass and returned it 29 yards to the Raiders’ 15-yard line.
Kennedy then hit A.J. Gorham for a 15-yard touchdown strike as Bellefontaine led 20-8 at the 6:09 mark of the second quarter.
The interception was one of five turnovers committed by the Raiders. They now have 18 turnovers in four games and 13 over the last two weeks.
“You just can’t turn the ball over like that,” said Cotner. “Against good teams, you can’t turn the ball over five times and expect to win.”
Ben Logan cut Bellefontaine’s lead to six points with 2:25 left until halftime on Jeremy Brisson’s 1-yard TD run.
Brisson was a major bright spot for the Raiders. He finished the game with 192 yards on 31 carries.
Bellefontaine struck back just before halftime. Kennedy threw a 17-yard TD pass to Daniel Boy to give the Chiefs a 27-14 advantage at the break.
The Chiefs’ defense stepped up in the second half, keeping the Raiders out of the end zone.
Offensively, Bellefontaine continued to do damage.
A 10-yard touchdown burst by Wilson put the Chiefs up 34-14 with 4:56 remaining in the third quarter.
Bellefontaine added two more TDs in the final period. Kennedy threw a 15-yard scoring strike to Gorham and Wilson ripped off a 30-yard TD sprint.
Wilson rushed for 55 yards on 17 carries and Jordan Baughman had 56 rushing yards on 14 carries for the Chiefs.
Rogan caught three passes for 91 yards and Gorham had five catches for 59 yards to fuel the Bellefontaine receivers. Boy added two grabs for 36 yards.
For the Raiders, Zell contributed 46 yards on 12 carries and quarterback Trent Rodenberger had 42 yards on 11 carries.
Ben Logan finished with 320 rushing yards, but only had the two scores to show for it.
“When you play against the triple-option, you are going to give up some yards,” said Schmidt. “But once we settled in, we played with more confidence. We came out to start the second half and forced them to punt, and I thought that was a huge stop.”
Chase Miller had a pair of fumble recoveries to lead the BHS defense. Gorham and Keary Ginn also recovered a fumble.
Brent Weiss and Joe Worrell each had 16 tackles to lead the Raiders’ defense.
Raiders display impressive act of sportsmanship
Benjamin Logan’s student section did not let the intensity of the rivalry get in the way of honoring a student from Bellefontaine who died recently.
The Ben Logan students honored Bellefontaine’s Joy Dela Pena, who recently passed away after a battle with cancer, by taping a sign in front of their section that read, “For the Joy of the Game.”
“I was really impressed with what their student section did to honor a student of ours that passed way,” said Schmidt. “That was a very nice gesture on their part.”
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