DELPHOS — In a contest not decided until late in the fourth quarter, Spencerville won a hard-fought 20-18 Northwest Conference gridiron match over archrival Jefferson Friday night at Stadium Park.
On their second series of the game, set up by a Spencerville interception at the 48 returned to the Jefferson 30 — advanced to the 20 on a Wildcat penalty — the Bearcats tallied first with a 7-play drive, capped off by a 3-yard TD plunge by senior running back John Smith at the 4:34 mark of the opening quarter. The 2-point attempt was unsuccessful.
Following a 3-and-out possession by Jefferson, Spencerville ran off a 14-play, time-consuming drive from the 29 to the Jefferson 33, turning the ball over on downs. The Wildcats returned the favor on a 10-play, 40-yard drive, snuffed out by their second interception of the contest at 3:39 of the second quarter deep in Bearcat territory.
Spencerville was forced to punt with 90 seconds left in the half; Jefferson tallied immediately on an 83-yard pass from Austin Jettinghoff to Zavier Buzard to knot the score at 6-all with a 1:11 to go; the kick failed to leave the score there.
With good field position at their 40, the Bearcats responded moments later on a 2-play drive, capped off by the second TD run by Smith on the evening, this time from 18 yards out with 41 seconds on the clock. The 2-point conversion was unsuccessful, leading to the halftime score of 12-6, Bearcats.
Following an exchange of possession to start the third, Jefferson put together a consistent 8-play drive from midfield with a 2-yard touchdown run by Buzard at the 4:53 mark of the quarter. Again, the extra point was unsuccessful on a kick that went wide to the left, knotting the score at 12-all.
Spencerville ruled the balance of the quarter, advancing the ball to the Wildcat 31 before turning it over on downs entering the fourth quarter.
A strong 11-play drive by Jefferson ended on a fumble at the Spencerville 26 with 7:51 remaining. The Bearcats then tallied what proved to be the decisive score of the game on a 6-play, 74-yard march, the final 26 yards on a scamper by sophomore Logan Vandemark at the 5:12 mark. The 2-point conversion run by Smith was good, providing Spencerville with an 8-point cushion, 20-12.
Starting from their own 35, Jefferson responded in four minutes with an 11-play drive, scoring on a pass from Jettinghoff to junior Ross Thompson from 14 yards out with 1:25 remaining to close within 20-18. The crucial 2-point pass attempt for the tie was batted away by the Bearcat secondary, preserving the victory.
The statistics of the contest reflected the final score, as Spencerville garnered 316 total yards with 254 on the ground, & 62 through the air on 14 1st downs. Jefferson amassed 360 total yards with 190 on the ground, 170 through the air, as quarterback Austin Jettinghoff connected on 10 of 20 passes with 2 interceptions. Zavier Buzard lead the Wildcat ground game with 27 carries for 130 yards. John Smith paced the Bearcats with 28 carries for 175 yards, Junior Colton Miller added 30 on 11 totes, and Logan Vandemark picked up 50 yards on 5 attempts.
With the victory, Spencerville ends their regular season 8-2 overall, 6-2 in NWC play, Jefferson closes at 6-4 overall, and 4-4 in the league.
SPENCERVILLE 20, JEFFERSON 18
Score by quarters:
Spencerville 6 6 0 8 - 20
Jefferson 0 6 6 6 - 18
S — John Smith 3 run (pass failed), 4:34
DJ — Zavier Buzard 83 pass from Austin Jettinghoff (kick failed), 1:11
S — Smith 18 run (run failed), :41
DJ — Buzard 2 run (kick failed), 4:53
S — Logan Vandemark 26 run (Smith run), 5:12
DJ — Ross Thompson 16 pass from Jettinghoff (pass failed), 1:11
First Downs 15 19
Totals Yards 302 371
Rushes-Yards 50-242 39-204
Yds passing 60 167
Comps./Atts. 2-3 10-20
Penalties 2-7 5-55
Intercepted By 2 0
Fumbles/Lost 2-0 3-2
Punts 3-32.7 2-32.5
Spencerville: John Smith 28-175.
Jefferson: Zavier Buzard 27-169-1, Austin Jettinghoff 9-25-0, Quinten Wessell 3-13-0.
Spencerville: Derek Goecke 2-3-60-0-0.
Jefferson: Austin Jettinghoff 10-20-167-2-2.
Jefferson: Ross Thompson 4-42-1, Drew Kortokrax 4-39, Buzard 1-83-1, Wessell 1-3.