BLOOMING GROVE -- The Blooming Grove Lions had their 2019 home opener Friday night before a large crowd at Lion Stadium and the hometown fans came away happy as the Lions dominated the Kerens Bobcats with a 41-7 victory.
With the win the Lions improve to 2-0 on the young season and the Bobcats dropped to 0-2.
Blooming Grove head coach Ervin Chandler saw his Lions roll up 353 total yards of offense and also saw his defense give up only 130 total yards. And, for the second consecutive week, the Lion defense scored a touchdown on an interception return. And again it was sophomore Jalen Coleman doing the honors, his second return for a score this season.
Blooming Grove offensive linemen Kaleb Ferguson, Tanner Drain, Taylor Cochran, Nick Wilcoxen, and Jordan Kincaid blocked well enough for the Lions to come away with 256 yards on the ground. Coleman led all rushers with 137 yard on 13 carries and found the endzone twice on rushing scores. Joe Velasquez managed 53 yards on 11 carries and scored one time while Matthew Beacom had a 33 yard run on his only carry of the night.
Quarterback Carson Rucks rushed 4 times for 26 yards and a score and Damon Lovett picked up 7 yards in 2 carries.
Rucks completed 7 of 16 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. Beacom quarterbacked late in the game and completed two of two passes for 13 yards. Colton Nicholson had 3 catches for 26 yards, Julian Chavez had 2 for 26, Lovett had 2 for 2, Beacom had one for 36 and a touchdown, and Michael Adkins had a catch for 7 yards.
The Bobcats had Kallen Rogers, Caleb DeMoss, Ethan DeMoss, Koby Phelps, and Chris Jones as their offensive line starters. Devin Graves led the Kerens rushing attack with 26 yards on 8 carries and Daniel Fernandez picked up 21 yards in 5 attempts. Starting quarterback Corey Davis left the game early in the second quarter with an apparent knee injury. Davis managed 7 rushing yards and 10 passing yards before suffering the injury.
Anders Sundquist and R. J. Mornes both quarterbacked the Bobcats after Davis had to leave the contest. Sundquist completed 3 of 13 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown but also suffered 2 interceptions. Desmond Lindsey caught the touchdown pass with it covering 37 yards. It was his only catch of the game. Adaybran Davis had 2 catches for 10 yards.
Defensively, the Lions had Nicholson, Cochran, Wilcoxen, and Isaac Haden starting up front with Will Stuckert, Jacob Esparza, and Guillermo Velazquez manning the linebacker spots. Defensive backs were Josh Glasco, Beacom, Coleman, and Adkins.
Defensive starters for the Bobcats had Ethan DeMoss, Jaden Mullen, Phelps, and Matt Tucker up front with Adaybran Davis, Garrett Myre, and Jason Burleson at the linebacker spots. Defensive backs were Corey Davis, Lindsey, Sundquist, and Graves.
After a couple of exchanged possessions to begin the game, the Lions finally got untracked late in the first quarter. The Lions started at their own 42 yard line and used the rushing of Coleman and Velasquez to move the ball to the 7-yard line of the Bobcats. Coleman took a hand-off from Rucks on a second down play from there and got into the end zone for the touchdown with 3:12 remaining in the first. Andrew Roberts kicked the extra point to give the Lions the 7-0 lead.
The Bobcats then answered that score with one of their own. Starting at their own 36, Kerens used the rushing of Corey Davis and Graves to move into Lion territory at the 37. Davis was injured on this drive and Sundquist came on and promptly threw a touchdown pass to Lindsey that covered those remaining 37 yards. Myre kicked the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
The Lions took the ensuing kickoff and started their next possession at their own 32. The running of Coleman and a pass from Rucks to Nicholson helped move the ball to the Lions 48. On second and twelve from there it was Coleman who got the call and he responded with a run of 52 yards for the score at the 9:35 mark of the second quarter. The extra point kick attempt failed, but the Lions led 13-7.
Blooming Grove’s next touchdown was set up on a Beacom interception and return of 17 yards that had the Lions in great field position at the Bobcats 15. It was Rucks who did the honors this time at the 6:28 mark with a touchdown run of 11 yards. Roberts kicked the extra point to increase the lead to 20-7.
Halfway through the third quarter found the Lions changing the scoreboard once again. This score came on a tipped Sundquist pass that found its way into Coleman’s hands. He took it back 60 yards for the touchdown. Robert’s kick made the score 27-7.
The Lions tallied twice more before the game was over. The first score came on pass of 36 yards from Rucks to Beacom with 11:12 remaining in the game. Roberts made the extra point kick to increase the lead to 34-7.
The final score of the game came on a 1 yard run by Velasquez with 1:16 left in the game. The Roberts successful extra point kick produced the final of 41-7.
“We did better executing offensively and defensively this week than last. We were able to move the ball fairly well," Chandler said.
"Our defense really played well. We were able to get to the edges to force the plays back inside. We knew Kerens had a lot of speed and we needed to force the run to the inside. I give credit to out defensive coordinator, Jason Burnett, for coming up with a great defensive game plan,” summed up Chandler.