Bowling Green took over on the first play from scrimmage and never looked back posting a 56-13 victory over Defiance in the second round of the Division III playoffs Friday night.
The Bobcats, 6-1, advance to play Parma Heights Holy Name at Bobcat Stadium next Friday. Holy Name posted a 44-6 win over Caledonia River Valley.
“I was nervous. Our bye week was productive and our guys stayed fresh,” BG head coach Dirk Conner said. “I am really proud of the kids coming out and executing. They didn’t have to adjust any game speed or anything early and that really helped us out.
“We did a nice job of getting out and playing fast and physical right out the gate.”
Bowling Green scored on its first eight possessions, only turning the ball over on downs once in the fourth quarter.
“It’s all the O-line — it was just hammering away. I was getting good blocks and yards … we just kept going,” BG senior running back Cayden Seither said.
BG’s first play from scrimmage was a 52-yard run by Nick Powers and that set the tone for the Bobcats.
“It helped energy a lot. It got us going. The whole team just got excited, ‘let’s go, let’s win,”’ Seither said about Powers’ run. “Once we got rolling, we couldn’t stop.”
The Bobcats scored seven touchdowns in the first half piling up 237 total yards in the first 24 minutes, including 214 yards on the ground.
“We wanted to try to squash any momentum they had,” Conner said. “We were able to accomplish that and that’s a pretty good feeling early in the game.”
The Bobcats were also helped by three fumble recoveries and three interceptions.
“We are learning a whole new defensive system on that side of the ball with a bunch of kids. Who have really not played Friday nights other that this year and some of them haven’t played the positions they played prior to this year,” Conner said. “We are feeling we are getting better and better on that side of the ball. We are just starting to learn it.”
The Bobcats scored five touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 49-7 halftime lead.
In the decisive first half, with Defiance working to stop Eli Brown who came into the game with 932 rushing yards on 109 carries, BG went to several different running backs to carry the load.
Seither and Ryan Jackson each ran for 69 yards, Powers added 55 yards and Hammer ran for 37 yards in the first 24 minutes.
Brown did rip off a 30-yard run in the second half and he also threw for two touchdowns.
“Eli gets a ton of attention and rightly so, but Cayden and Ryan are incredibly talented and good football players,” Conner said. “Tonight they (Defiance) pretty much took him (Brown) out of the game. So we feel good. We go win games with those two.”
Seither and Jackson also played well on defense, including an interception by each one.
“Those guys are the heartbeat of our defense,” Conner said.
In the first quarter, Seither on a 1-yard run and Powers with a 3-run run and two PATs from Ethan Warner gave the Bobcats a 14-0 lead after 12 minutes. Warner would finish with eight PATs.
Seither scored in the second quarter on runs of 1 and 36 yards around a 74-yard pass play from Defiance’s Drew Davis to Drew Kellermyer.
Then Evan Brandt caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Brown, Mason West scored on a 20-yard fumble recovery and Marcus Hammer scored on a 1-yard run to put the Bobcats head 49-7 at the half.
With a running clock in the second half, Defiance scored on a 7-yard run, but the PAT was blocked.
Bowling Green closed out the scoring on a 5-yard pass from Brown to Powers.
“We try to be efficient with what we do. We thought we had some good looks on some of the stuff they (Defiance) were doing,” Conner said. “Our kids played physical and they played the way they are supposed to play football. That takes care of a lot of stuff.
“I really want to give some props to our receivers and our slot backs who blocked really well on the edges,” he continued. “Those guys don’t get a lot of glory and we ask every single kid in our offensive to block people … It’s not just the guys up front blocking. We ask 10 out of the 11 to block on every play.”
BGHS 56, DEFIANCE 13
DEFIANCE 0 7 6 0 — 13
BGHS 14 35 7 0 — 56
BG – Seither, 1 run (Warner kick)
BG – Powers, 3 run (Warner kick)
BG – Seither, 1 run (Warner kick)
D – Kellermyer, 74 pass from Davis (Gmutza kick)
BG – Seither, 36 run (Warner kick)
BG – Brandt, 1 pass from Brown (Warner kick)
BG – West, 20 fumble recovery (Warner kick)
BG – Hammer, 1 run (Warner kick)
D – Drew Davis, 7 run (kick failed)
BG – Powers, 5 pass from Brown (Warner kick)