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Road Win Over Christian Heritage Keeps Wildcats Undefeated

 

September 30, 2021

Bethel opened district 2A-3 play on the road last Friday night at Del City, facing Christian Heritage Academy. The game appeared to be a back and forth contest, but it only appeared that way. 

Coach Joey Ginn’s squad dominated the game, and eventually won 32-14, securing not only the district win, but the coveted fifteen district points. Bethel (4-0, 1-0) outgained the Crusaders in total offense 466 to 134. They had over three times as many first downs as did CHA. While Bethel struggled at times en route to a 50% third down percentage while on offense, the private school managed only four of 16 for a measly 25% against a relentless Bethel defense.

About the only thing the Crusaders (2-2, 0-1) won was the coin toss. After that, and a decision to give the ball over to offensive coordinator Brandon Blizzard’s offense, the rest was history. 

The Wildcats wasted no time putting points on the board. John Allred capped a six-play 48-yard scoring drive with a 12-yard run. Gabe Palomares added the extra point, and Bethel led 7-0 only two minutes into the game. About Allred, Ginn said, “That kid breaks three tackles; he’s a smaller version of Metscher. He runs hard.”

At that point it became obvious that the Wildcats would control the game, but there were some hiccups that kept the game closer on the scoreboard than what the fans were witnessing on the field.

Though the defense forced punts and turnovers on downs, the offense experienced big plays by Bryce Tapley, Tyler McKinney, Corey Metscher, John Gordon and more, only to fumble a possession away and fail to convert on fourth down.

The defense eventually had the hosts in a fourth and 29 situation, but a mystery roughing the snapper penalty led to a new set of downs. That’s when Gordon made one of his big plays. He intercepted a Crusader pass, ending the threat. On the very next play, Tapley hit Gordon on a short run-pass option pass. Gordon did the rest, racing 71 yards for a score. Palomares’s kick made it 14-0 with 2:06 left in the first quarter. 

“That was a tough throw for Bryce when he pulled it,” Ginn said. “He had a backer in his face. John found grass and did the rest.”

Coach Ginn likes to set records with his teams. Early in the second quarter, Gordon set a punting record he would probably rather not own. His punt went straight up, met some wind, and sailed backwards for a negative 24 yards to the Bethel eleven-yard line.

On the next play Gage Porter intercepted the ball in the endzone, giving it back to his offense. “It shows you the competitor Gage is. He had a great break on a slant route, and he did not give up on the play after breaking it up,” Ginn said.

The celebration was short-lived as Tapley’s pass was intercepted on the ensuing drive and returned to the five-yard line. CHA ended up scoring on an 18-yard pass and narrowed the Bethel lead to 14-7.

Metcher returned the kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown only seventeen seconds later, giving the ‘Cats a 20-7 lead after the extra point kick was blocked. “What a response by Corey and our kickoff return team!” Ginn bragged. “It was a huge play, about as good a play in high school football as I’ve seen. He was wrapped up and on the sideline, and he broke tackles and stayed in bounds.”

Metcher followed that score with an apparent fumble recovery on the next series, but the officials saw it differently. The Crusaders took advantage of the break and scored on the next play. The Wildcats led 20-14 at the half. 

Bethel kicked off in the second half and unleashed a furious defense. The third quarter was nothing to write home about for the private school as it consisted of four drives, all ending in “three and out” punts. The leaders on the defensive side of the ball were Metcher (11 tackles), Allred (15), Austin Melson (16), TJ Ramsey (14), and Michael Parsons (14). Ramsey set a school record with an unheard-of before seven sacks. 

Tapley, who finished with 284 passing yards on 24 completions and 30 attempts. Three of those went for touchdowns. On the first drive of the second half, he hit Gordon on a 79-yard bomb. The run failed and the Wildcats led 26-14. Gordon finished with 11 catches for a school record 208 yards and two touchdowns. “Bryce throws it exactly where he needed it to go, and Gordon ran under it,” Ginn explained. 

As the third quarter slipped away, Brady Lower broke off a 32-yard run to put the ‘Cats in a first-and-goal. Tapley found Xavier Meier on a seven-yard screen pass and the final touchdown of the evening. The kick was blocked again. 

“Meier does things for us that no other kid can do. His speed, he’s a difference maker, and he’s tough,” Ginn said.

After the game, Ginn said he was proud of his team’s response in the second half. “That’s two weeks in a row we jumped out to a lead and got comfortable. It’s something we’ve got to get better at, but a great response in the third quarter.”

Class 2A’s second-ranked Washington Warriors (4-0, 1-0) travel to Bethel tomorrow night for a homecoming district contest. Kickoff is set for 7 pm. 

 

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