MABANK -- The Blooming Grove Lions’ magical football season came to an end Friday night in Mabank as the Lions fell to the S & S Consolidated Rams in the 3A DII bi-district round of the playoffs, 20-0.
With the win the Rams move on to the next round while the Lions end their season with a 7-4 mark. The Rams improved to 6-4 with their victory.
The Rams used the running and passing of senior quarterback Jake Reynolds to help secure the win. His play, along with great defensive play by his teammates, propelled the Rams to the victory. Reynolds rushed for 171 yards on 34 carries and also completed 8 of 15 passes for 110 more. He did suffer one interception, however.
Reynolds was pretty much the offensive force of the game. Ram tailback Colby McSpedden rushed for 44 yards in 15 tries to occasionally spell Reynolds in the rushing game.
Cooper Herron was the leading receiver for S & S with four catches for 29 yards. Blake Smith caught two for 46, Cannen Fellegy had one reception for 31, and Nathanael Raney had one reception for four yards.
The Lions were just unable to get anything going offensively. Offensive line starters were Trey Daniels at center, Fidel Avalos at left guard, Andrew Melton at right guard, Kian Long at left tackle, and Adam Tovar at right tackle. Kelton Bell started at quarterback with Bubba Beacom lined up at the tailback spot. Starting receivers were Bryson Fisher, Colton Nicholson, Justus Revill, and Timmy Hamilton.
There just was not a lot happening for the Lions in either the run game or the passing game. Jalen Coleman was the leading rusher for Blooming Grove with 45 yards on 12 carries. He also caught two passes for 35 more. Revill carried once for 25 yards on a reverse, Bell had 21 yards on seven carries, Beacom had three carries for three yards, and Hamilton finished with minus seven yards in four tries. Bell completed 3 of 12 passes for 38 yards and Hamilton completed 3 of 5 for 16. Hamilton did suffer an interception. Nicholson had two catches for seven yards, Revill had one for 12, and Beacom had one for no gain.
Chris Castillo, David Mirafuentes, Andrew Melton, Mason Crocker, and Nathan Alvarez all saw action on the offensive line for the Lions while Jackson Hoover, Carter Grant, and De’Marco Debrow all logged time in the receiver spots for head coach Ervin Chandler’s squad.
Defensive starters for Blooming Grove had Nicholson, Devon Hood, Jesus Sanchez, and Grant across the front with Hamilton, Hoover, and Tovar backing them up at the linebacker positions. The corners were Debrow and Beacom with Revill and Bell manning the safety spots.
Hoover was credited with a fumble recovery for the Lions and Revill had an interception. Ismael Ramirez saw action on the line for Blooming Grove while Fisher saw time at one of the corner spots and Omar Mandujano saw action in the linebacker position.
The opening minutes of the game saw good defensive play from both teams. The Rams fumbled on their opening possession of the game with Hoover recovering for the Lions at their own 44-yard line. However, the Lions were unable to pick up a first down and punted back to S & S.
After picking up one first down on their second drive, the Rams were stopped by the Lions defense and were forced to punt once again. A 50-yard punt had the Lions starting at their own 25 on their second possession. Facing a fourth and three from the 32, Bell dropped back to punt and had his kick blocked by Ram defender Raney. Jeffrey Janway actually caught the deflected punt and was tackled at the Lion 28-yard line. Four consecutive rushing plays by Reynolds moved the ball to the 5-yard line. On second down from there Reynolds called his own number again and scored on a run up the middle for the touchdown with 3:57 remaining in the first quarter. Suzanna Griffin kicked the extra point to put the Rams up 7-0.
The Rams' next scoring drive started early in the second quarter and used up almost seven minutes. Starting at their own 39 yard line the Rams used the running and passing of Reynolds to move them to the Lions 21. McSpedden then carried for three consecutive times to push the ball to the 10. A run of seven by Reynolds moved the ball to the 3 and two more carries by him had the Rams in the end zone once again, this time with 5:54 showing on the second quarter clock. Griffin kicked the extra point to push the lead to 14-0.
The Rams scored with 7:29 remaining in the third on a 37-yard field goal by Griffin. That score was set up after Ram defensive back Brett Steward picked off a Hamilton pass at the Lion 35-yard line. The Lions defense kept the Rams out of the end zone, but Griffin’s kick was true to push the lead to 17-0.
The Lions were unable to handle the ensuing kick-off and the squib kick wound up being recovered by the Rams at the Blooming Grove 26. Again the Lions defense held and again Griffin was called on to attempt a field goal. She was true again on the kick with this one coming from 36 yards out to make it 20-0 with 6:12 left in the third quarter.
Neither team did much with the football the remainder of the game and that 20-0 lead held up for the Rams.
“They came out and played really physical from the start. They brought it to us and we did not respond well. I thought we played better defensively the second half, but we just could not get anything going on the offensive side of the ball. The loss is a tough pill to swallow but I am real proud of the season we had,” summed up Chandler.