GOSHEN — Goshen won the battle of both the offensive and defensive lines Friday night, winning the King of the Road game for the second straight year against Blanchester, 37-16.
The start of the game was delayed by 84 minutes due to lightning.
After leading 7-3 at the half, two third quarter touchdowns put the game away for the Warriors. Jimmy Strunk gave Goshen a 14-3 lead with a 60-yard run with 10:19 left in the third.
Blanchester (2-2) tried to answer by driving across midfield. However, on fourth and inches from inside the Goshen 46, Tristan Greene tried sneaking the ball from under center, but went backward.
Goshen (3-1) would put the game away with a seven-play, 54-yard drive. Adam Slusher would score on a 2-yard touchdown run with 2:41 left in the third, and Goshen led 21-3.
Strunk would add a 36-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to end any hopes for a Blanchester comeback.
Powered by strong play up front, Goshen racked up 466 yards of total offense, including 364 yards rushing. Strunk ran for 302 yards and four touchdowns.
“Kudos to Goshen – they came out and set the tone,” BHS Head Coach Brandon Sammons said. “They ran the ball well. They fired off the ball. They did the right things offensively and put us on our heels right off the bat.”
While Strunk, Slusher and Johnny Kube ran through big holes opened up by the Goshen offensive line, the Goshen defensive line stymied the Blanchester offense.
Greene rarely had time to throw, and when he did receivers were mostly well covered. Blanchester had just 146 yards and six first downs through three quarters, including just 59 yards rushing on 21 carries.
“We weren’t executing offensively,” Sammons said. “We were missing assignments defensively. They took advantage of it.”
After the more than an hour delay to start the game, Goshen didn’t take long to find the end zone.
Starting at its own 34, Goshen got a 15-yard run by Jimmy Strunk, a 5-yard Strunk run, a 15-yard Johnny Kube run, followed by a 23-yard Strunk scamper. Strunk finished the drive with an 8-yard run and dive inside the pylon.
Goshen needed just 1:46 to traverse 66 yards and take a 7-0 lead.
Blanchester picked up just four yards on its first drive and was forced to punt. However, the Wildcats got a break when one of the blockers was forced back into the Goshen returner just as the ball arrived.
The ball popped straight up into the air, and into the waiting arms of Tavor Mowry. Blanchester would take over on the Goshen 28.
Tristan Greene would roll out, scramble and juke his way to the Goshen 7. Blanchester would gain just one more yard from there, and would have to settle for a Dakota Penquite 23-yard field goal to pull within 7-3 with 3:57 left in the first.
Goshen would cross midfield three more times in the first half only to come up empty all three. Kyle Proffitt dropped a perfect throw over the shoulder of Josh Ulrey for a would-be 27-yard touchdown pass, but it went through his arms and Goshen would turn it over on downs.
On the next series, Goshen drove to the Blanchester 11, but two incompletions would force the Warriors to try a 27-yard Jordan Ulrey field goal, which missed wide right.
With less than three minutes left in the half, Goshen again crossed midfield, only to see an overthrown Proffitt pass end up in the hands of Mowry.
Meanwhile, Blanchester struggled offensively and crossed midfield just once in the first half after its field goal. The Wildcats drove to the Goshen 31 with under six minutes left in the half.
On fourth and four from the Warrior 31, Greene’s pass for Nick Hopkins went just out of reach, and Blanchester would turn it over.
Blanchester had just four first-half first downs and only 101 yards of total offense, compared to 199 yards and 11 first downs for the Warriors. However, Goshen held just a 7-3 lead at the intermission.
Fans from both teams wore purple for the game for 13-year-old Goshen resident Tommy Simpkins, who remains hospitalized after being struck by a car on Sept. 3. Blanchester players wore purple socks in support as well.
September 16, 2016
@ Jim Brown Stadium, Goshen, Ohio
Goshen 37, Blanchester 16
G – Jimmy Strunk 8-yard run (Jordan Ulrey kick) 10:14
B – Dakota Penquite 23-yard FG 3:57
G – Strunk 60-yard run (Ulrey kick) 8:13
G – Adam Slusher 2-yard run (Ulrey kick) 2:41
G – Strunk 36-yard run (kick failed) 11:47
G – Ulrey 26-yard FG 8:09
B – Hunter Collier 1-yard run (pass failed) 4:25
G – Strunk 2-yard run (Ulrey kick) 2:40
B – Tristan Greene 62-yard run (Penquite kick) 2:24
PLAYS: B 55; G 65. FIRST DOWNS: B 10; G 20. RUSHES-YARDS: B 29-162; G 47-364. PASSING YARDS: B 123; G 102. COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS: B 13-26-0; G 8-18-1. TOTAL YARDS: B 285; G 466. PENALTIES-YARDS: B 4-25; G 1-5. FUMBLES-LOST: B 2-2; G 2-1.
Rushing (carries-yards): B Tristan Greene 18-131 TD; Brent Hopkins 4-17; Hunter Collier 6-14 TD. G Jimmy Strunk 31-302 4 TDs; Johnny Kube 9-42; Adam Slusher 5-27 TD.
Passing (completions-attempts-interceptions): B Greene 13-26-0 123 yards. G Kyle Proffitt 8-18-1 102 yards.
Receiving (catches-yards): B Nick Hopkins 4-58; Quenton Miller 3-27; Jared Monhollen 1-17; Brent Hopkins 2-6; Hunter Collier 2-15. G Josh Ulrey 3-42; Kamrin Tuerck 2-27; Logan Mantz 1-7; Sam Edwards 1-12; Jake Meader 1-14.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.