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GAME OF THE WEEK: Second half spells success for Chiefs vs. Lakers

Bellefontaine outscores Lakers 22-6 over final two quarters

BHSILGorham

Bellefontaine’s A.J. Gorham races to the end zone for an 85-yard kick return Friday against Indian Lake. The Lakers’ Nate Kaffenbarger trails Gorham on the play. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)

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The recurring theme of slow starts continued for Bellefontaine on Friday, but a strong second half saved the Chiefs in a victory over county rival Indian Lake.

The visiting Lakers jumped out to a 14-0 lead and led 21-16 at halftime.

However, Bellefontaine outscored Indian Lake 22-6 in the second half to pull away for a 38-27 win in a Central Buckeye Conference crossover football game.

Bellefontaine moves to 3-2 on the season, while the Lakers drop to 1-4.

“Indian Lake gave us everything we could handle,” said BHS head coach Toby Smith. “We made a lot of mistakes in the first half, and we can’t continue to make those kind of mistakes. We made some adjustments in the second half and the kids did what they had to do to be successful.”

The Lakers outgained Bellefontaine 481-244 in total yards, but Indian Lake lost three fumbles, had a botched punt result in a safety and was penalized eight times for 88 yards.

“The penalties and turnovers were huge tonight,” said Indian Lake coach Dave Coburn. “We have to stop beating ourselves.”

Indian Lake rushed for 335 yards, with senior running back L.J. Henderson piling up 242 yards on 26 carries.

“As a whole, I loved the fight we had as a team,” said Coburn. “If we continue to play with fight like that, good things are ahead of us.”

Indian Lake was coming off a 56-6 loss to Tippecanoe last week, but showed no ill effects of that defeat in the early going Friday.

The Lakers’ Cole Wurster picked off a Bellefontaine pass on the opening series of the game.

Two players later, Chris Teague took off for a 36-yard touchdown run that gave Indian Lake a 7-0 lead at the 9:32 mark of the first quarter.

Indian Lake went up 14-0 on the first play of the second period when Henderson found a hole in the middle of the Chieftain defensive line and raced 82 yards for a touchdown.

On a play that turned the game around, Bellefontaine’s A.J. Gorham took the ensuing kick and ran it back 85 yards for a touchdown. The extra-point kick was no good, leaving the Lakers up 14-6.

“Any time you have a special teams score it is an important factor,” said Smith. “That play helped get us the momentum we needed.”

Coburn said the plan was to kick away from the dangerous Gorham.

“We didn’t want to kick the ball to him,” said the Lakers’ coach. “He made us pay. That was a big play.”

Bellefontaine then came up with a turnover on Indian Lake’s next series. The Chiefs recovered a fumble at the Lakers’ 38-yard line.

Bellefontaine turned the Laker miscue into points as the Chiefs mounted a scoring drive. Capping it was a 9-yard TD pass from Jake Kennedy to Daniel Boy.

A two-point conversion catch by Boy tied the score at 14-14 with 8:10 left until halftime.

Things continued to go downhill for the Lakers the next time they touched the ball. After a 3-and-out, they lined up to punt the ball deep in their own territory.

The snap bounced in front of the Lakers’ punter. He was able to gather the ball, but was tackled in the end zone by Bellefontaine’s Aaron Rutherford for a safety. The two points gave the Chiefs their first lead at 16-14.

Indian Lake eventually regained its composure. The Lakers put together on a long drive late in the second quarter.

Teague, who rushed for 106 yards on the night, hit the end zone on 10-yard run. The extra-point kick by Parker Grothaus put the Lakers ahead 21-16 at the 3:04 mark. Indian Lake maintained its five-point lead at halftime.

Bellefontaine went back in front midway through the third quarter. After Bellefontaine recovered an Indian Lake fumble, Kennedy fired a 33-yard TD pass to Boy. Kennedy scored on a two-point conversion run to give the Chiefs’ a 24-21 lead.

The Chiefs never trailed again. Jordan Baughman, who powered the Chiefs with 112 rushing yards on 29 carries, found the end zone on a 10-yard TD run to put Bellefontaine up 31-21 with 3:47 left in the third quarter.

Indian Lake climbed within four points with 34 ticks left on the third-quarter clock when Ben Wahl gathered in a pass from Grider that ricocheted off another player, and cruised in for a 29-yard touchdown play.

The extra-point kicked was blocked, leaving the Chiefs ahead 31-27.

Bellefontaine put the game away in the fourth quarter with a 5-yard Baughman TD run at the 6:01 mark.

Kennedy completed 10 passes for 136 yards. Boy was his top target with four catches for 85 yards and the two scores.

“Daniel Boy played a great game,” said Smith. “I thought Jordan Baughman and Jake Kennedy played great games, too. We had some guys step up when we needed it.”

Hayden Nease added 38 receiving yards on five catches for BHS.

Christian Grider passed for 133 yards for the Lakers. Brennon Lump caught three balls for 56 yards and Teague had three catches for 28 yards.

Bellefontaine’s defense was sparked by two fumble recoveries from Joe Rindfleisch and one from Andrew Carothers.

Rutherford had an interception for the Chiefs and Alex Jacobs added an interception for the Lakers.

Both teams enter Central Buckeye Conference division play Friday. The Chiefs host Tippecanoe and Indian Lake visits Graham.

LAKERS @ CHIEFS

IndianLake 7 14 6 0 – 27 Bellefontaine 0 16 15 7 – 38

TEAM STATISTICS IL • BFN

First downs 15 • 14

Total net yards 481 • 244

Rushes/yards 42/348 • 37/108

Passing 133 • 136

Comp-att-int 10-27-1 • 12-26-2

Punts/avg 4/32 • 7/34.4

Fumbles-lost 3-3 • 1-1

Penalties-yards 8-88 • 2-20


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