BATAVIA — After watching his defense spend almost the entire second quarter on the field Friday night against Batavia, Blanchester head coach Brandon Sammons saw something that told him things were going to be different in the second half.
“I think coach (Greg) Kummer woke them up a little bit at halftime,” Sammons said. “When one of your better players comes out with a look on his face like he’s about to hurt someone, coach said something to wake them up.”
Blanchester’s defense turned up the intensity in the second half, holding Batavia to just 50 yards after halftime in a 28-7 Wildcat victory.
“We told some of those guys, ‘Hey, you’ve got to channel it. You’ve got to use it.’” Sammons said. “Defensively, I think we showed a lot of passion, a lot of heart in that second half. They were hitting people.”
Batavia (1-6) was able to hang around thanks to its bend, but don’t break defense. Five times they stopped Blanchester drives that either started in Bulldog territory or ended up there.
Sammons credited Batavia’s defense, but also lamented some missed opportunities.
“They timed some things up as we got close to the goal line,” Sammons said. “We couldn’t really run it up the middle like we wanted. We had to go to some of those second and long, third and long plays that we don’t like as well.
“And when a ball hits a guy in the hands and he drops it, that creates problems. A lot of it is execution – the guys up front doing their thing, the guys out on the sides catching the ball, making the right reads with the quarterback.”
In the end, Batavia just couldn’t stop Tristan Greene. He carried the ball 14 times for 110 yards and completed 18 of 26 passes for 250 yards with four total touchdowns.
The first two quarters couldn’t have been much different. Blanchester dominated play in the opening quarter, running 22 offensive plays to just 10 for Batavia. Blan amassed 173 yards in the first quarter to just 19 for the Bulldogs.
Batavia flipped the script in the second quarter. Batavia ran 21 plays in the second, including 18 of the first 19. The Wildcats managed just seven plays on two drives – one ending in an interception and the other in a dropped fourth down pass.
Blanchester (4-3) gained just 17 yards in the second quarter compared to 71 for Batavia. Blan managed to maintain the lead at the intermission, 14-7.
The Wildcats got the breathing room it needed on its first drive of the third quarter. Greene capped a five-play, 72-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Miller. Blan led 21-7, and the defense made sure Batavia never threatened.
The next two weeks will determine the champion of the Southern Buckeye Conference’s National Division. Blanchester is 2-0, but so is Bethel-Tate after the Tigers rallied to beat Williamsburg Friday 28-24.
Blanchester will travel to Williamsburg next week before hosting Bethel-Tate in week nine. All Sammons is focused on now is the showdown against the Clermont County Wildcats.
“We’ve got it in front of us,” Sammons said. “We’re looking forward to Williamsburg next week. It’s going to be a tough battle. They’re a good football team. I hear it’s always a tough game. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
October 7, 2016
@Batavia High School, Batavia, Ohio
Blanchester 28, Batavia 7
BL – Tristan Greene 1-yard run (Dakota Penquite kick) 2:22
BL – Greene 9-yard pass to Nick Hopkins (Penquite kick) 0:11
BA – Brandon Brookbank 5-yard run (Spencer Fluegel kick) 1:52
BL – Greene 20-yard pass to Dylan Miller (Penquite kick) 8:20
BL – Greene 17-yard pass to Quenton Miller (Penquite kick) 0:47
PLAYS: BL 56; BA 60. FIRST DOWNS: BL 18; BA 9. RUSHES-YARDS: BL 30-137; BA 38-60. PASSING YARDS: BL 250; BA 81. COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS: BL 18-26-1; BA 6-22-3. TOTAL YARDS: BL 387; BA 141. PENALTIES-YARDS: BL 3-35; BA 4-25. FUMBLES-LOST BL 2-1; BA 0-0.
Rushing (carries-yards): BL Nick Hopkins 3-22; Tristan Greene 14-110 TD; Brent Hopkins 4-25; Hunter Collier 22. BA Spencer Fluegel 4-11; Jason Griffin 3-16; Cullen Gerrard 9-(-3); Brandon Brookbank 5-11 TD; Will Scaggs 5-(-2); Jake Ellington 12-27.
Passing (completions-attempts-interceptions): BL Tristan Greene 18-26-1 250 yards 3 TDs. BA Fluegel 4-14-2 30 yards; Scaggs 2-8-1 51 yards.
Receiving (catches-yards): BL Nick Hopkins 3-64 TD; Spencer Dissel 2-17; Quenton Miller 3-61 TD; Jared Monhollen 4-58; Dylan Miller 2-22 TD; Brent Hopkins 4-28. BA Gerrard 1-4; Zach Kennedy 3-26; Fluegel 1-31; Sklar Morgan 1-20.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton