CARROLL — Bloom-Carroll was not to be denied on its senior night as it came out and played a physical game to hand Teays Valley its first league loss Friday night 24-9.
The win by the Bulldogs (8-2, 5-1) creates a three-way tie for the Mid-State League Buckeye Division championship with the Vikings (7-3, 5-1) and Amanda-Clearcreek (8-2, 5-1).
The Buckeye Division title is the third-straight — either outright or shared — for the Vikings and second consecutive shared title for the Bulldogs.
“The senior class, there’s only 10 or 11 of them, but they’re workers,” Teays Valley coach Mark Weber said. “They work every day, they show up and have fun together.”
The performance put on by the Bulldogs is an example of why Weber feels teams don’t make it through the league without a loss more often.
“Some people will say the league isn’t very strong, but at the top I think it is strong,” Weber said, noting co-champs Bloom-Carroll and Amanda-Clearcreek earned playoff spots. “You have to be ready every game and this is what happens if you’re not prepared and the other team wants it and they’re physical.”
The Bulldogs controlled the game up front rushing 37 times for 196 yards and senior quarterback Otto Kuhns (headed to Div. I Eastern Illinois to continue his football career) was 15-20 passing for another 113 yards.
“They were super-aggressive. They were up in our pads and we weren’t up in their pads. That’s football 101 — the line has got to win,” Weber said. “Their lines beat us so they won the game. They wanted it more than we wanted it and played more physical than we did and that’s just the facts.”
The Bulldogs struck right off the bat when Cody Harmon broke the game’s first play for a 59-yard touchdown.
Teays Valley’s defense forced a punt on Bloom-Carroll’s next possession and stopped the Bulldogs again later in the first period, but senior kicker Cameron Shirkey connected on a 45-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
Late in the second quarter, senior Michael Struckman intercepted Kuhns and Cale Clifton was able to hit a 20-yard field goal to make it 10-3 at the half.
Teays Valley took advantage of another Bloom-Carroll turnover in the third quarter, a fumble also recovered by Struckman, to add to its total.
The Vikings put together a 12-play drive that covered 63 yards and ended with Riely Weiss connecting with Dale Hubbard on a 30-yard touchdown pass. A failed PAT kick made it 10-9, in favor of the Bulldogs.
Bloom-Carroll controlled the fourth quarter with a 13-play scoring drive and a 10-play scoring drive. Both ended with Kuhns running the ball in — from nine yards out and from one yard out.
“I thought it would be a fourth-quarter game. We were down one point and they were more physical on the line,” Weber said. “Otto Kuhns is a special player. Their running back (Hobie Scarberry) runs very hard, is very gritty. I know Wade (Bartholomew) personally and Wade is a good coach.”
Kuhns had 15 rushing yards to go with his 113 in the passing column, while Scarberry was the Bulldogs’ workhorse carrying 24 times for 105 yards.
Weiss, a senior, led the Vikings with 119 yards on 18 carries while fellow senior Tristan McDanel was 3-7 passing for 22 yards and had 61 yards on 22 carries.