Blooming Grove —
The Blooming Grove Lions used a bend-but-not-break defense and an opportunistic offense to defeat the Rice Bulldogs, 29-17, in District 6-2A DII play Friday night.
After falling behind at halftime, Blooming Grove (3-2, 1-1) turned three second-half turnovers into 22 points and a key district win for the Lions. Rice, after playing ball control for the first half, could not overcome the miscues, and fell to 1-4 and 0-2.
The Rice ball control game plan worked early as the Bulldogs, after receiving the opening kickoff, marched 80 yards in 12 plays, using almost half of the first quarter. Chris Atchley carried the ball nine times for 50 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown, on the drive. Atchley finished the night with 36 carries for 204 yards and two scores.
Blooming Grove responded with a touchdown drive of its own, needing only seven plays to move 60 yards for the score. The drive was capped off by a 31-yard touchdown run by Tyler Morris. Tyler Ellis kicked the extra point and the game was tied at seven. Morris ran for 110 yards on 15 carries.
Rice regained the lead with another long, time-consuming drive that covered 68 yards in 15 plays and used almost nine minutes off the clock. The drive seemed to stall when the Bulldogs punted on fourth and 28, only to be given new life when the Lions were called for roughing the kicker. Rice took advantage four plays later as Jesus Garcia booted a 37-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a 10-7 lead at halftime.
In the first half, Rice outgained Blooming Grove 198 to 99, ran 37 plays to 18, and held the ball for more than 18 minutes, but could only manage a three point lead.
After stopping Blooming Grove on the first possession of the second half, Rice went back to its game plan, gaining a first down on three consecutive Atchley runs. But, on second down, Brandon Hays intercepted an Austin Peppers pass, giving the Lions the ball deep in Rice territory.
Blooming Grove needed just six plays to move 29 yards to cash in on the interceptions. Ellis scored on an 11-yard run and then added the extra point to give the Lions their first lead of the night, 14-10.
The ensuing possession for the Bulldogs ended the same way. This time, Brody Owens picked off the Bulldog pass, setting the Lions up again in Rice territory. Ellis needed only one play, covering the 43 yards himself, and, after a botched extra point attempted turned into a 2-point conversion for the Lions, Blooming Grove was up 22-10 late in the third quarter.
Then, after trading punts, Rice tried to rally and moved deep into Blooming Grove territory on a 36-yard pass from Peppers to Angel Oropeza. Hays thwarted the Bulldogs again with his second interception, returning it all the way to the Rice 14 yard line.
Ellis scored his third touchdown of the night on a five-yard run to push the Blooming Grove lead to 29-10.
Rice closed out the scoring with a late 61-yard touchdown run by Atchley with less than a minute remaining. The ensuing onside kick failed and the Lions ran out the clock.
Blooming Grove 29, Rice 17
Rice 7 3 0 7 — 17
Bl. Grove 7 0 15 7 — 29
R — Chris Atchley 3 run (Jesus Garcia kick), 6:20
B — Tyler Morris 31 run (Tyler Ellis kick), 3:08
R — Garcia 37 FG, 6:11
B — Ellis 11 run (Ellis kick), 4:08
B — Ellis 43 run (Jody Kirby pass from Brody Owens), 2:11
B — Ellis 5 run (Ellis kick), 3:24
R — Atchley 61 run (Garcia kick), 0:40
First downs 21 16
Rush-yards 53-274 37-323
Passing yards 89 30
C-A-I 4-13-3 5-6-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Punts-avg. 1-38.5 2-30.0
Penalties-yards 8-84 8-90
Rushing —R: Chris Atchley 36-204, Austin Peppers 10-37, Angel Oropeza 3-20, Sergio Gonzalez 4-13. B:Tyler Morris 15-110, Travis Whiteside 7-57, Tyler Ellis 9-39, Brandon Hayes 5-23, Daniel Camarillo 1-3.
Passing — R: Peppers 4-13-3-89. B: Ellis 5-6-0-30.
Receiving — R: Raven Huffman 2-38, Oropeza 1-36, Atchely 1-15. B: Jared Obenour 3-15, Hays 2-15.