BLOOMING GROVE -- Trailing by three points after giving up a late touchdown to Edgewood, the Blooming Grove Lions put their offense on the field with 2:42 left in the game with the ball sitting at their own 38-yard line.
Two minutes and 39 seconds later Lions running back Bubba Beacom punched in the winning score on a two-yard run to give the Lions the lead with three seconds left. After the Bulldogs were unable to run back the ensuing kickoff, time ran out and the Lions had come from behind to win 18-15.
“Amazing! What a game. A total team effort. We overcame injuries and penalties and the guys just gutted it out on that last drive. They never gave up, never quit,” summed up Lion head coach Ervin Chandler as he watched his team improve to 2-0 in district play and 4-2 overall. Edgewood’s loss dropped the Bulldogs to 1-1 in district play and 3-3 overall.
The Lions started on offense to begin the game but found no success on that first drive and Kelton Bell got off a nice 48 yard punt that pinned the Bulldogs back to their 13 yard line. However, that poor field position did not deter the Bulldogs as they used the running of tailback Nate Sims and the running and passing of quarterback Hayden Wilcoxson to quickly move into Lion territory. But the Lions defense stiffened and gave the ball back to their offense after a fourth and six play from the 37 yard line by Edgewood failed.
Starting at the 37 Beacom was able to rip off a 41 yard gallop to put the Lions in Bulldog territory. Quarterback Timmy Hamilton ran for 8 yards to the 17 after a penalty moved them back to the 26. From there Hamilton followed the blocking of linemen Adam Tovar, Ismael Ramirez, Fidel Avalos, Devon Hood, and Kian Long on a run into the endzone for the games first score. The conversion run attempt failed, but the Lions led 6-0 with 3:24 left in the opening quarter.
Edgewood answered that touchdown with one of their own on their ensuing possession. This drive featured the running of back Taylor Turner and the passing of Wilcoxson. A 32 yard pass play from Wilcoxon to receiver Hudson Tyner gave the Bulldogs a first and goal at the two yard line as time ran out in quarter number one. The first play of the second quarter was a two yard run by Turner into the end zone to tie the game at 6 with 11:57 on the clock. A. C. Watson kicked the extra point to put the Bulldogs up 7-6.
Blooming Grove took the ensuing kickoff and proceeded to march right back down the field. Another huge run by Beacom, this one for 32 yards, had the Lions with a first down at the Bulldogs 34. The running of Hamilton and a pass completion to receiver Bryson Fisher from Hamilton helped move the ball to the 10. But the Lions just could not get it in from there and the Bulldogs took over possession at their own three yard line.
The Bulldogs managed to move the ball out to their 39, but a fumble ended their drive as Colton Nicholson fell on the loose pigskin at that point. The Lions, though, could not get much going after the fumble recovery and gave the ball up on downs at the 24.
Each team had one more possession before the half ended with that 7-6 score.
It was the Lions who had the first big break as play resumed in the third quarter. Pressure put on by the Lions defensive line led to a hurried pass by Wilcoxson that was intercepted by defensive back Justus Reville. When the dust had settled, Revill returned the pick 62 yards to the Bulldogs 4 yard line. It took a while for the Lions to capitalize on the play because two penalties pushed them back to the 19. On third down from there, though, it was a perfect pass from Hamilton to Revill that covered those 19 yards and put the Lions back ahead. The conversion pass failed, but Blooming Grove went ahead 12-7 with 1:51 left in the third.
It was a bad punt by the Lions that set up the Bulldogs with excellent field position at the Lions 49 midway through the fourth quarter. Using up the majority of the remaining clock by successfully running the ball, the Bulldogs moved to the six yard line and faced third and goal from there. It was a run by back Alan Sherman that covered those remaining six yards and gave the lead back to Edgewood. Casey Leath caught the conversion pass from Wilcoxson to put the Bulldogs up 15-12 with 2:42 remaining in the game.
Armed with only one timeout left, the Lions started their drive at their own 38. A strong run by Bell and a pass completion to Beacom from Bell had the Lions in Bulldog territory at the 49. A pass completion from Bell to Revill moved the ball even further to the 39. Facing third and long from the 38, Hamilton hooked up with Beacom on a 15 yard completion to the 23. On fourth down from there, Hamilton took the shotgun snap and followed a great block by Fisher on the outside to pick up a first down at the 8 yard line on a 15 yard run. A penalty against the Lions moved the ball back to the 13 and then a penalty against the Bulldogs moved the ball to the two yard line with nine seconds left. From there it was Beacom who scored on a run as he was able to get the ball over the goal line with three seconds left. The extra point kick attempt failed, leaving the score at 18-15. That score held up as the Bulldogs were not able to do anything with the ensuing kickoff.
Beacom led all rushers as he picked up 80 yards in 9 carries. Hamilton added 56 with 13 carries, Bell finished with 47 on 8 attempts, and Trent Nicholson had one carry for 3 yards. Bell completed 4 of 7 passes for 12 yards and Hamilton completed 6 of 9 for 62 yards and had a touchdown toss. Beacom led the receiving crew with 4 catches for 40 yards, Revill finished with 2 for 26 and a touchdown, Fisher had 2 for 12, Trent Nicholson had one for zero, and Jackson Hoover had one for minus four yards.
It was a good offensive line effort for Blooming Grove as well. Linemen Tovar, Ramirez, Avalos, Adam Sanchez, Hood, Kian Long, Trey Daniels, Chris Castillo, Andrew Melton, Mason Crocker, Nathan Alvarez, and Jesus Sanchez all saw extensive action and all played well.
The defensive effort was once again strong. Led by middle linebacker Trent Nicholson, defensive end Carter Grant, defensive lineman Colton Nicholson, and defensive back Revill, they helped keep Edgewood in check. Fisher and cornerback De’Marco Debrow each came up with big pass breakups and Colton Nicholson had a fumble recovery that stopped a drive and the interception by Revill was huge indeed.
The Lions were without the services of wide receiver and defensive back Josh Glasco as he suffered a hand injury against Mildred last week. Lineman David Mirafuentes and running back and linebacker Omar Mandujano each were also nursing injuries.
“That last drive was really special. These group of kids just do not want to lose. They never quit. I am just so proud of them,” summed up Chandler.