Pirates Pull Away from Mustangs


Kaleb Jefferson (by M. Foster)

Kaleb Jefferson (by M. Foster)

(HARROD) - Team, team team.  It takes several contributors to make a successful team and the Pirate football team put out a terrific group effort while looking exquisite in a new set of all white uniforms Friday night in a 28-14 win at Allen East.  Bluffton running back Kaleb Jefferson scored three touchdowns and quarterback Dakota Bricker threw a score to Gavin Conrad as Bluffton improved to 3-3 on the season and 2-1 in conference play.  Allen East fell to 1-5 overall. 

All facets of the Pirate team were clicking from offense to defense to special teams.  For the second game in a row, the Pirates used a bevy of running backs to wear down the Mustang defense.  Deandre Nassar, Kaden Reneker, Logan Rhodes, Bricker and Conrad all shouldered the rushing load along with Jefferson behind blocking of Chad Veit, Brett Basinger, Zayne Salsbury, Justin Haggard, Landen Luginbuhl and Hunter Busch.  Coach Jeff Richards said, "I was thrilled with our offensive line tonight.  They went up against some good size and won down after down."  Bluffton's triple motion offense had Allen East guessing all night as to which back had the ball and Bricker kept the Mustangs honest by rolling out for a pass or running a bootleg every so often.  

Jefferson put up the only points of the first half for either team on an 11 yard rush to cap Bluffton's second drive of the game.  Penalties hindered the other two Pirate drives of the half.  The senior added a 27 yard scamper in the third quarter to go with an electrifying 61 yard score on a play that called for a halfback pass to put the game out of reach at 28-14.  Jefferson took the toss and ran right to throw but saw ground to be gained and tucked the ball and headed up field.  He cut back to the left and eventually scored in the left corner of the end zone.  Jefferson was quick to praise the lineman post game saying, "My linemen made some great blocks and I had a couple of cutbacks.  There was great blocking downfield as well." Jefferson gained 146 yards on just 11 carries.  Nassar added 68 yards and proved tough to bring down. The Pirates outgained the Mustangs 306-163.

Gavin Conrad made a dynamic leaping snare of a Bricker pass on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 23 yard touchdown.  The score pushed the Pirate lead out to 20-7 and ignited the Pirate faithful who enjoyed the game on a crisp fall evening.  

Defensively, Jefferson registered 7 tackles to go along with pass breakups by Bricker, Reneker and Joel Piercefield.  Hunter Busch, Brice Rayle, Mason Ault and Conrad created havoc and sacked the Mustang quarterback. "For the most part, we did a great job containing all of their athletes," Richards added.  The Pirates especially limited the Mustang rushing attack to just 47 yards.  Late in the first half, AE found some success slipping running backs out of the backfield but the Bluffton 'D' shored up that wrinkle in the second half.  

On special teams, punter Brice Rayle averaged over 42 yards per punt with two landing inside the 20 yard line including a ball spotted at Allen East's one yard line.  Dakota Bricker had two punt returns of over 20 yards and a kickoff return over 30 yards setting up Pirate scoring drives.  Jefferson also drilled the Mustang punter after a bobbled snap causing a fumble that Conrad leapt on immediately.  

The Pirates sit 2-1 in conference play, good for second in the conference standings.  Richards added, "This is a wide open league this year.  We're approaching every game as a playoff game; just one at a time."   He also said how meaningful this win was for the Pirate seniors as they had not beaten Allen East in their high school careers.  A similar situation awaits next Friday as Delphos Jefferson comes to town for the final home game of Bluffton's season.  Jefferson has won the last three matchups so the BHS seniors will again be looking to get a win.  

Game Note:  The all white uniforms was an idea Richards brought to the team this summer.  After review, it is believed to be the first time BHS has worn this setup since sometime in the 1980's when Mike Richards was the head man on the Bluffton sidelines.  


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