Defiance 20, Bluffton 6
Yellow Jackets use strong first half for 20-6 victory over Bluffton in 2006 finale
November 11, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio - On a cold and rainy November afternoon, the Bluffton University football team fell to the Defiance College Yellow Jackets by a final score of 20-6 in the final 2006 contest for both teams. The Beavers started all of their seniors except for quarterback Jared Owens (Van Wert/Crestview) who was sidelined late in the Mt. St Joseph game with a cracked rib. The loss dropped Bluffton to 3-7 on the year with a 2-5 mark in the Heartland Conference. Defiance improved to 7-3, 5-2 in the HCAC.
Despite giving up a 51-yard Gary Allen kickoff return to open the contest, the Bluffton defense limited Defiance to three plays on the Yellow Jackets' first possession.
Bluffton failed to pick up a first down following the Defiance punt and the Yellow Jackets took over on their own 39-yard line with 11:12 to play in the first quarter. Jason Gendron used his left tackle repeatedly as he picked up 42 yards on six carries before his 12-yard touchdown scamper put the Jackets up, 6-0, midway through the opening stanza.
Late in the first quarter, a 31-yard pass to Aaron Whitlock (Grove City/Central Crossing) and a pass interference call against Defiance set up a nine-yard scoring strike from sophomore quarterback Kyle Coleman (Etna/Watkins Memorial) to junior wideout Drew Lovelace (Trumansburg N.Y./C.U. Dickerson). The blocked extra point left the score tied at six at the end of the first quarter.
A personal foul against Bluffton gave the Yellow Jackets a first down at the Bluffton 20-yard line early in quarter two. Following two Gendron three-yard runs, Hans Vetter found a well-covered Nate Fitton in the corner of the end zone to put the Yellow Jackets up, 13-6.
On the first play of the Yellow Jackets' next possession, Bluffton defensive end Bryan Lloyd (Elida/Bath) forced a Hans Vetter fumble as he was preparing to pass and Tyler Schwab (Medina/Medina) took it to the Defiance nine-yard line with 10:35 to play in the half. The Defiance defense was up to the task and it forced a 23-yard Justin Guy (Oregon/Clay) field goal attempt which went wide right.
A 41-yard completion to Fitton moved the Yellow Jackets to the Bluffton 18-yard line late in the first half. Gendron again took over and moved the chains to the home seven before Vetter found Ricky Calverley for a four-yard completion. Vetter took it in himself, giving Defiance a commanding 20-6 lead at the break.
The defenses did the job in the second half as possessions were short and first downs hard to come by. Late in the third quarter a blocked punt by the Yellow Jackets gave Defiance possession at midfield, but Ben McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) picked off Vetter on the Jackets second play from scrimmage.
Three straight sacks by the Defiance defense on Bluffton's ensuing possession gave Defiance the ball back on the visitor's 30-yard line with 14:53 left in the game.
Neither team was able to mount a sustainable drive during the fourth stanza as the Jackets picked up a 20-6 victory for their second win over the Beavers at Salzman Stadium in as many years.
The Yellow Jackets gained 280 yards on the day and limited Bluffton to only 102, including a loss of six yards on the ground for the game thanks to a defense that sacked the Beavers nine times. Defiance converted on four-of-13 third down opportunities while Bluffton moved the chains only one time on 14 third down plays. For the game, the Beavers picked up seven first downs compared to 14 for Defiance.
AJ Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern) led the Beavers with 42 yards on 13 carries. Lovelace, Joel Sienicki (Goshen, Ind./Northridge) and Mike Brown (North Wales, Pa./Calvary Christian Academy) hauled in two receptions each, with Lovelace picking up 30 yards. Sophomore Kyle Coleman, making his first start at quarterback, completed nine-of-26 passing attempts for 108 yards and one touchdown on a day when conditions were far from ideal.
Leading the Bluffton defense with 15 tackles, including five solos and a pass breakup, was junior safety Taylor Iceman (Lucas/Lucas). Junior linebacker Sam McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) chipped in with 10 stops, giving him a team-high 115 for the season. He and his brother, senior linebacker Ben McCullough, both picked off Defiance passes for the Beavers.
Gendron led the way for the Yellow Jackets, gaining 136 yards on 28 carries with a touchdown. Vetter completed 10-of-19 passes for 121 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Fitton, Allen, and Calverly all picked up two catches for Defiance.
Bluffton ends its 2006 season with a 3-7 record, 2-5 in the Heartland Conference.