Leave It All On The Field

"Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority."  -Vince Lombardi

November 19, 2018

This year the Blackford Bruins football team went on to have the best season since Blackford has seen since 2003. From all the hard work from the weight room to the track for sprints definitely paid off for the Bruins season. The first scrimmage of the summer when the Bruins traveled to Bluffton High School to face Bluffton and Bellmont, it was a breeze for the Bruins as they shut both teams out as well as score twice on each team that day. The next scrimmage was at Taylor University when they faced off against North Miami, West-Del on a hot and sunny day.

Jay County

     First regular season game against the Jay County Patriots the Bruins had the butterflies on a nice sunny day. The Bruins put up a great effort, and never trailed the entire game until the final minute when the Patriots fullback Michael Schlechty scored the clutch touchdown and two-point conversion with 32.6 seconds left on the board. The next Bruins possession the Bruins failed to move the ball down the field with four incompletions thrown by quarterback Caleb Mealy. The Bruins lost 22-21 in a nail-biting game. The Bruins out gained the Patriots with 237 yards to 226. Austen Lancaster led the Bruins on the ground with 58 yards on 14 carries and Terrence Wilson led the defense with five solo tackles and six assists for the night.

Week 2 Southern Wells Raiders

     The Bruins had to battle a complete 48 minutes to earn a hard-fought victory over the much improved Southern Wells squad. The first possession for the Bruins, they threw in the air early as Caleb Mealy threw a 20-yard pass to Dalton Willman to start the game. A few plays later the Bruins ended the possession on a 35-yard pass to tight end Joey Payne to lead the game. The Raiders responded with a touchdown drive to cut the lead to one on their second drive of the game as the score was 7-6 Bruins leading into halftime. First possession after of third quarter the Raiders wasted no time taking the lead.  A 64 yard TD pass from Mason Huffman to Will Pennington on third and nine and a two-point conversion put the Raiders up 14-7.  Huffman later went down with an apparent knee injury and never returned to the game which slowed the Raiders offense for the rest of the night. The Bruins refused to hang their heads and responded with a nice drive. Jacob Deavers scored on an eight-yard run to cut the lead to one after a failed field goal attempt by Bode Mallot. After an interception from Shane Elam, the Bruins had all the momentum and ran all over the Raiders throats while scoring two straight touchdowns from Isaac Justice and Shane Elam. The Bruins went on to win the game by the score of 28-14.

Week 3 Oak Hill Eagles (The comeback game)

    It only took the Bruins three plays to score on the eagle’s defense that ran up the middle by fullback Jacob Deavers. The Golden Eagles wasted no time tying it up however as Josiah Harvey returned Malott’s kick 85 yards to pay dirt and the game was tied at seven. Halftime the Eagles up 21-14. Right after the half, the Bruins D became furious on not allowing the Golden Eagles to score any more in the game. The Bruins stunned their visitors with two pass plays for TDs just minutes apart on their next two drives. Bruin signal caller Caleb Mealy hooked up with tight end Dalton Willmann for 5-yard and 75 yard TD passes which the second, unofficially, may be one of the top five longest passes in BHS football history. Austen Lancaster carried 20 times for 148 yards to lead the Bruins. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry on the night. Jacob Deavers rushed just five times for 66 yards. Mealy completed five of nine passes for 127 and the two touchdowns. Isaac Justice led the defense with eight solos and one assist. Melvin Hernandez added five solo tackles. Joseph Payne recorded four solos and an assist.

Week 5 Frankton Eagles (Shut Out Game)

     On a nasty storming raining day the Bruins dominated from the opening kick-off until the final kneel to defeat the host Frankton Eagles 35-0. The host Eagles took the opening kick and made their way into Bruin territory with a mix of pass and run before getting stuffed on fourth down at the Bruin 35. The Bruins set the tone by marching down the field completing the first of five scoring drives on the night. Isaac Justice finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Bode Malott’s PAT made it 7-0.  The Eagles only had 175 yards to the Bruins 317 because of a couple of miscues interceptions and fumbles because of the rain. That game Isaac Justice rushed 14 times for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Austen Lancaster rushed nine times for 77 yards and a TD. Melvin Hernandez lead the defense with five solo tackles and four assists. Isaac Justice recorded five solos and two assists.

Week 5 Alexandria Tigers

     The Bruins fired on all cylinders right out of the gate and never stopped. The Bruins started the first quarter with three touchdowns scored by Isaac, Shane, and Melvin to have a 21-0 lead. Beginning of the second quarter the Tigers responded on an 80-yard touchdown return by Aaron Thomas and made it 21-6. The whole second quarter literally felt like a whole half of a football game with all the scorings being made by both teams. Isaac Justice ran a 79-yard touchdown to make the score 35-12  with minutes to go in the first half. Who also was voted player of the week on the Star Press for carrying the ball 13 times and rushing for 239 yards. The 79-yard run is the second longest rushing touchdown for Blackford school history. Defensively there were also several records broken for the Bruins negatively as the Bruins struggled almost all afternoon allowing the Tigers quarterback Ryan Metz to throw for 427 yards and 7 touchdowns which gave up a school a school record for both passing and touchdowns for Blackford, along with the 52 points that were given up. The Bruins went on to win the Game 70-52 which ties the all-time mark set by the ’90 squad that defeated Peru 70-13. The Bruins amassed a Bruin record 589 yards rushing which surpassed the 514 yards gained by the Bruins in only the tenth game in BHS history, a 62-8 win over Bluffton in ‘69. The Bruins also broke the total offense record with 661 yards which also surpassed the effort that first year that resulted in 562 total yards. The 13.5 yards per play for the game is also a school record. The average rushing yards per carry of 13.1 was second all-time. The Bruins also set a school record by scoring on 11 straight possessions. The Tigers did not stop the Bruins on a single drive the entire game.  The 122 combined points is also a record for one game.

Week 6 & 7

     Week six and seven was a breeze for the Bruins as they swept by both the Madison Grant Argylis 34-7 and the Elwood Panthers 57-6 for both Homecoming and Senior Night. Which were the first Homecoming and Senior Night victories since 2008. For week six Isaac Justice won the Star Press player of the week for the second week in a row as also Austen Lancaster who was nominated in week 7 and won his first one too.

Week 8 & 9

     Sadly for Blackford County, the Bruins lost 21-0 to the Eastbrook Panthers with a tone of mistakes with all the drop passes and the poor blocking assignments made by the O-line in week 8. The following week after the Bruins competed for the sectional championship against the Mississinewa Indians and was denied to score a single point again by the score of 28-0 Indians.

Week 10  North Western (Round one of Sectionals)

     The Bruins defense set a new record with only allowing the Northwestern Tigers offense have 15 total yards of the game. Melvin Hernandez led the defense with not only his slobber knockers but also with 8 tackles along with an interception.

Week 11 North Montgomery (Round 2 of Sectionals)

     The Bruins beat the Chargers 38-0 on a very cold and slightly raining night.  They rushed past North Montgomery with 487 yards on the ground and used a stingy defense for the second consecutive week to shut out their opponents. In doing so, the Bruins accomplished what no prior Bruins football team has done in the first 50 years of BHS Football by shutting out their first two tournament opponents.

Week 12 Brebeuf Jesuit Braves (Sectional Championship)

     Blackford’s crowd turned out loud and proud and had much to cheer about early in the Sectional Championship. The Bruins took the opening kickoff and scored on an across body throw by Caleb Mealy to Isaac Justice for 56 yards to start the game. The defense then stood tall stopping the Braves on three straight plays inside the BHS 5-yard line. The Braves were going to settle for a field goal, but a roughing the kicker penalty set the Braves up 1st and goal from the three which was costly for the Bruins because they scored to tie the game at 7.Brebeuf then recovered an onside kick setting up their second score to steal the momentum from the Bruins. By halftime had built a 21-7 advantage. The Braves went to score three more touchdowns in the third quarter to make it 42-7. Late in the fourth Isaac Justice ran his second touchdown of the night making the score 42-13 putting him to over a thousand yards rushing for the season.

The Bruins ended the season third in the conference with an 8-4 record led by the fundamental Juniors and Seniors.

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