Big plays on offense and a swarming defense again spelled a dominant performance for Bellefontaine on Friday against rival Indian lake.
Bellefontaine’s Dezmin Lyburtus, far left, runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Indian Lake defense Friday inside AcuSport Stadium. (EXAMINER PHOTO | TONY BARRETT)
The Chiefs stuck to their winning formula to overpower the visiting Lakers 41-0 at AcuSport Stadium.
Bellefontaine won its seventh game in a row to improve to 8-1. The win also locked up a playoff berth for the Chiefs.
Indian Lake is now 6-3.
“We are very excited about the way the kids played tonight,” said Bellefontaine head coach Toby Smith. “There are still a lot of things to fix and we will look at film and try to get those things corrected. We just have to keep working at it.”
Indian Lake had won the last two meetings vs. the Chiefs, but Friday’s game turned into a lopsided affair in the second half.
Bellefontaine led 14-0 at halftime and then put up 28 points over the final two quarters.
“We just didn’t tackle well enough,” said Indian Lake head coach Dave Coburn. “The game got away from us in the second half because of some big plays. Give Bellefontaine credit. They are very well coached and they are very athletic.”
Bellefontaine outgained Indian Lake 530-205 in total yardage.
Chieftain quarterback Dezmin Lyburtus sliced up Indian Lake’s secondary to the tune of 313 yards and three touchdowns on 14 of 16 passing.
Bellefontaine added 217 yards on the ground.
Indian Lake moved the ball with some success in the first half, twice getting the ball to the Bellefontaine 2-yard line. However, the Lakers were kept out of the end zone on both occasions.
“In the first half we had opportunities but we didn’t capitalize on them,” said Coburn. “Credit Bellefontaine’s defense for making the plays when they needed them.”
Indian Lake was limited to 57 rushing yards on 22 carries. Sophomore quarterback Clay Jacobs completed 10 of 21 passes for 148 yards.
It was the third shutout in the last four games for Bellefontaine’s defense. Senior defensive end Jerome Smith spearheaded the effort with four sacks.
“Our defense was great,” said Smith. “Any time you are holding teams to one score or less like we have over the last four games, you have the chance to be successful. It takes pressure off of the offense.”
The game got off to a wild start as there were three turnovers in the first two and a half minutes of action.
Indian Lake returned the opening kickoff to near midfield, but fumbled and Bellefontaine recovered.
On the first play of Bellefontaine’s ensuing possession, the Chiefs lost a fumble of their own.
Five plays into Indian Lake’s following series, Lyburtus stripped an Indian Lake receiver of the ball to give it back to the Chiefs at their own 18-yard line.
Bellefontaine then put together a seven-play scoring drive that was finished off by a 29-yard TD strike from Lyburtus to Jack Clement on a crossing route.
Derek Robb booted the first of five successful extra-point kicks to give the hosts a 7-0 lead with 6:26 left in the first quarter.
Indian Lake was forced to punt on its next possession and the Chiefs took over at their own 17-yard line.
Bellefontaine went on a 15-play scoring march that spilled over into the second quarter.
Lyburtus put the finishing touches on the drive with a 2-yard keeper that gave Bellefontaine a 14-0 lead at the 8:20 mark of the second period.
Indian Lake responded by driving the ball deep into Bellefontaine territory. But the Chiefs stopped the Lakers on the 2-yard line on a fourth-and-goal play to dodge the threat.
The Lakers threatened again just before halftime. Indian Lake had a first-and-goal with 1.6 seconds left on the Bellefontaine 2-yard line.
Bellefontaine tackled Indian Lake’s Connor Dixon on a sweep play at the 4-yard line to keep the Lakers off the scoreboard.
It was all Bellefontaine in the second half.
Robb kicked a 25-yard field goal with 5:04 left in the third period and added a 22-yarder with 31 seconds remaining in the quarter to give the Chiefs a 20-0 cushion.
Bellefontaine hit a pair of long passing plays to ice the win in the fourth quarter.
Ganson took a pass from Lyburtus in the flat and raced 67 yards for a touchdown to make the score 27-0 with 11:30 remaining in the game.
On Bellefontaine’s next possession, Lyburtus found Kaidon Davis-Hughes loose down the sideline for a 57-yard touchdown that made the score 34-0.
The Chiefs tacked on a 1-yard TD run by backup quarterback Grant Smith with 1:11 left on the clock.
Ganson had a productive night in the passing game for Bellefontaine with six catches for 140 yards. Jack Clement had three catches for 39 yards and Davis-Hughes had two catches for 61 yards.
Garrett Gross led the BHS ground attack with 83 yards on 14 carries. Lyburtus notched 47 yards on 15 rushes and Grant Smith tallied 61 yards on six rushing attempts.
For the Lakers, Dixon carried the ball 14 times for 69 yards.
Dylan Knotts was the main target of Jacobs, catching seven passes for 83 yards. Austin Beck had one catch for 38 yards and Collin Coburn made one grab for 24 yards.
Indian Lake was quick to get its starters out early in the fourth quarter as it looked ahead to next week’s battle with Benjamin Logan. The Lakers can capture an outright Central Buckeye Conference Mad River division title with a win over the Raiders.
“Our goal coming in was to win the game, but if it got away from us we were going to do what was best to prepare for next week,” said Coburn. “I told our kids that at 12 midnight, it becomes championship week. We are all excited about the opportunity that awaits next Friday.”
Bellefontaine will also be gunning for an outright division championship when it hosts Kenton Ridge for a CBC Kenton Trail division contest.
“We want to win the league outright,” said Smith. “We want to finish off the regular season with a win and get ready for the playoffs.”
LAKERS @ CHIEFS
Indian Lake 0 • 0 • 0 • 0 – 0
Bellefontaine 7 • 7 • 6 • 21 – 41
TEAM STATISTICS IL • BFN
First downs 11 • 19
Total net yards 205 • 530
Rushes/yards 22/57 • 40/217
Passing 148 • 313
Comp-att-int 10-21-1 • 14-16-0
Punts/avg 5/39.8 • 2/40.0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 • 1-1
Penalties-yards 4-30 • 11-115
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