A wounded Graham team was no match for Bellefontaine on Friday.
Bellefontaine’s Kaidon Davis-Hughes hauls in a touchdown catch against Graham on Friday at AcuSport Stadium. (EXAMINER PHOTO | TONY BARRETT)
The host Chiefs, led by a dazzling performance from Dezmin Lyburtus, rolled to a 49-0 halftime lead and went on to win 63-7 in a Central Buckeye Conference crossover game at AcuSport Stadium.
“We wanted to get off to a good start,” said Lyburtus. “We didn’t start real well the last couple of weeks, so it was important for us to play well from the start. Overall, it was a great effort tonight.”
Bellefontaine (3-1) rolled up 426 yards of offense and held Graham, which played without starting quarterback Gage Braun because of an injury, to 162 total yards.
“We did a lot of good things tonight,” said Bellefontaine head coach Toby Smith. “We handled things that were in our control.
“We had some injuries coming into the game like you do in every football season. We had a bunch of kids step up and play well, and we expected them to.”
Lyburtus put on a show in the first half. He threw for three touchdowns, ran for a 57-yard touchdown, returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown and recovered a fumble on defense.
“To have an athlete like that is huge,” said Smith. “He can make things happen even when nothing is there. He does a lot of special things for us.”
The heavy work load is something Lyburtus takes pride in.
“I love this game and I want to be out there,” he said. “Anything the team needs me to do, I am up for it.”
The Bellefontaine defense set the tone for Friday’s rout.
On the third play of the game, Kaidon Davis-Hughes picked off a Caleb Horner pass and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown. Derek Robb added the extra point to give the hosts a 7-0 lead at the 10:09 mark of the first quarter.
The Falcons (1-3) went three-and-out on their next possession. After a Graham punt, Bellefontaine put together a five-play 54-yard scoring drive.
Garrett Gross, getting carries because of an ankle injury to Trey Stahler, found the end zone on a 26-yard run as the Chiefs led 14-0.
Lyburtus recovered a fumble on Graham’s ensuing offensive possession. Five plays later, he tossed a 36-yard TD strike to Jack Clement to make the score 21-0 with 4:07 left in the opening period.
Bellefontaine upped its lead to 28-0 early in the second quarter on a 27-yard TD pass from Lyburtus to Davis-Hughes.
Lyburtus and Clement connected for another touchdown pass, this time a 19-yarder, to give the Chiefs a 35-0 cushion at the 6:48 mark of the second period.
Following another Graham three-and-out, Lyburtus fielded a punt at his own 34-yard line and raced all the way to the end zone. Robb tacked on his sixth extra-point kick of the half to make the score 42-0 with 4:40 left until halftime.
Lyburtus finished off his spectacular half with a 57-yard TD sprint that allowed the Chiefs to take a 49-0 lead into the break.
“I have a great offensive line that gives me a lot of room,” said Lyburtus. “Three of those guys are in my class, so we have been playing together for a long time. We have a great chemistry.”
Bellefontaine picked up in the second half where it left off at halftime.
Jerome Smith, a standout defensive end for the Chiefs, was given some time at running back and he took advantage of it.
The Chiefs needed just four plays of the third quarter to get into the end zone, with Smith rumbling 30 yards for a touchdown and a 56-0 lead.
Bellefontaine’s final score came on a 25-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Grant Smith with 7:51 left in the game.
Graham’s lone touchdown came on a 9-yard run by Horner at the 1:28 mark of the final quarter.
On the night, the Chiefs rushed for 310 yards on 25 carries.
Lyburtus finished with 113 rushing yards on eight carries and completed 6-of-10 passes for 116 yards.
Gross rushed for 45 yards on three carries, Jerome Smith had 89 yards on seven rushes and Grant Smith added 38 yards on four carries.
Clement had the two catches for 55 yards to lead the Chieftain receivers.
Jacob Boy added an interception for the BHS defense.
Bellefontaine returns to action Friday at Benjamin Logan.
FALCONS @ CHIEFS
Graham 0 • 0 • 0 • 7 – 7
Bellefontaine 21 • 28 • 7 • 7 – 63
TEAM STATISTICS GRM • BFN
First downs 7 • 14
Total net yards 162 • 426
Rushes/yards 33/159 • 25/310
Passing 3 • 116
Comp-att-int 1-4-2 • 6-10-0
Punts/avg 5/34.3 • 0/0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 • 2-0
Penalties-yards 6-40 • 8-85
CLICK ON AN IMAGE TO VIEW SLIDE SHOW