Defiance 37, Bluffton 19
By Ben Risinger, SID
November 15, 2003
DEFIANCE, OHIO - The Defiance Yellow Jackets (4-6, 3-3 HCAC) defeated the Bluffton Beavers (2-8, 0-6 HCAC) 37-19 in the 2003 football finale for both teams.
The game started off on a positive note as the Beavers received the opening kickoff. Sophomore Ben Dodds (West Lilberty/Bellefontaine) ran the kickoff back 67 yards to start the opening drive. Two plays later, quarterback Jared Owens (VanWert/Crestview) completed a 31-yard pass to Dodds for the touchdown to go up 6-0 after a failed PAT. Defiance would answer right back two minutes later to take the lead 7-6. At the 9:06 mark in the first Dodds would post a 2-yard run for the second Beaver touchdown to give Bluffton the lead once more 12-7 (2-point conversion failed).
Over the course of the next two quarters Defiance would score three more times to widen the lead to 21-12. In the third quarter junior Mark Gable (Alvordton/Hilltop) would catch a 48-yard pass from Owens to tighten the game to 24-19 (Carrion kick good). Defiance would score twice more in the contest to give the final of 37-19.
Hurting the Beavers were two critical plays, the first one was with 2:32 left in the first half when Bluffton found themselves at the Defiance 3-yard line for first and goal when Dodds fumbled the ball for the loss. The second crucial play was early in the fourth quarter when Owens would find his pass intercepted at the Bluffton 3-yard line to be run back for the touchdown. Ending the day, Defiance went 4-for-4 in the red zone, with the Beavers going 1-for-4.
Comparatively, Bluffton posted 22 first downs compared to Defiance 's 18. Bluffton posted a total of 321 yards (175 rushing, 146 passing) compared to the Yellow Jackets 417 yards (156 rushing, 261 passing). The Beavers led in time of possession at 33:47, compared to Defiance with 26:13. Bluffton played smart on the day, allowing only two penalties for 10 yards, compared to Defiance with nine penalties for 78 yards.
Quarterback Jared Owens finished the contest 29-14-2 for 146 yards in the air and a career high two passing touchdowns. Ben Dodds led the Beavers in rushing with 81 yards and a touchdown off of 28 carries. Dodds also had five kickoff returns for 174 yards. Mark Gable led the receiving attack with five catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. Junior Matt Chiles (Sidney/Sidney) led the Beaver defensive effort with 13 tackles (8 solo, 5 assisted) and two tackles-for-loss for eight yards. Senior Chris Sommers (Delphos/Jefferson) had 10 tackles (4 solo, 6 assisted) on the day.
The game caps off the end of the 2003 season for Bluffton and head coach Greg Brooks' first season at the helm of the Beavers.