BRANDT – Bethel didn’t let up Friday night as the Bees blew out Bradford 63-0 in a Cross County Conference football game.
“We said it before, we’ve got to turn the program around and get where we want to be,” said first-year Bradford coach Chris Hawk, whose team dropped to 0-9 with Friday’s loss. “It’s going to be baby steps. We just faced a 7-1 team; they came out and played like a 7-1 team. We knew it was going to be a tough week.”
Bethel, which kept its starters in the game until midway through the fourth quarter, unofficially racked up 495 total yards of offense while holding Bradford to 84 yards of offense. Hunter Penkal carried much of the load for Bradford, gaining 81 yards on the ground for the Railroaders.
Bethel’s superiority was clear from the beginning of the game as the Bees scored on the first play from scrimmage. Jacob Ullmer carried the ball 52 yards for the score to put the Bees up 7-0 after 18 seconds of game action.
After Bethel blocked Bradford’s first punt attempt of the night, the Bees again needed only one offensive play to score. Caleb South caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Evans to make it 13-0 then the extra point attempt was blocked.
Bethel added a 58-yard touchdown run by Travis Durst plus a two-point conversion from Ullmer, a 28-yard touchdown pass from Evans to South plus a two-point conversion run by South and a 4-yard touchdown run by South to make it 35-0 in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter South ran for a 6-yard touchdown, making Bethel a perfect six-for-six on touchdown drives during its first six possessions. Ullmer ran for the two-point conversion, and it was 43-0.
Aided by a holding and personal foul penalties on Bethel, Bradford got its first defensive stop of the game midway through the second quarter.
But the momentum was short lived as a few minutes later Bethel got an 11-yard touchdown run by Durst to go up 50-0.
With less than 90 seconds remaining in the first half, Bethel used all three of its timeouts on defense in hopes of getting the ball back one more time before halftime.
But Bradford thwarted those plans. The Railroaders tricked the Bees into jumping offside to pick up 5 free yards then Penkal ran for a first down on fourth and 2 – the first Bradford first down of the game. Penkal also picked up a 13-yard run for Bradford’s second first down of the half as the Railroaders ran out the clock.
“We ran basically a little bit of a trick play there, got them to jump, and then we picked up the first down and then let the clock run down for one hurrah for the end zone,” Hawk said. “It is what it is. They didn’t feel they had enough points at that point.”
Along with the Ohio High School Athletic Association-mandated running clock, Bradford and Bethel agreed to reduce the quarters to eight minutes each in the second half because of Bethel’s big lead.
Even with mercy rules in effect, Bethel kept its foot on the gas. The Bees’ first drive of the second half lasted just two plays with South catching a 27-yard pass and then a 42-yard pass for his fifth touchdown of the night.
Up 57-0, Bethel then recovered an onside kick. South then gained 58 yards on the ground, setting up a 2-yard touchdown run by Durst. The extra point was no good, leaving the score at 63-0 in the fourth quarter.
With Bethel bringing in its backups, Bradford was able to pick up one more first down on a 19-yard run by Penkal before the game ended with a 63-0 Bethel victory.
South led Bethel with 112 rushing yards and three touchdowns on five carries. He also was the Bees’ leading receiver with three catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
Durst had 80 yards and three touchdowns on five carries. Ullmer ran eight times for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Evans completed 5-of-10 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Kendal James caught two passes for 51 yards.
Bethel improved to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in the CCC with Friday’s win while Bradford dropped to 0-9 overall and 0-7 in the CCC. The Railroaders will conclude their season on Friday with a home game against Ansonia.
“We still have a job to do,” Hawk said. “We’re still going to go in and we’re going to game plan for this week. We’re going to send the seniors off.
“Ansonia’s a good team this year. We really haven’t faced a bad team this year. We’re going to come up and do our best, and the main thing is one of the things we’ve been stressing – just do your job. Regardless of whether you’re up by 30 or down by 63, do your job every play.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.