SPENCERVILLE – In the last two years, Chris Sommers’ Delphos Jefferson teams ended their seasons with losses to Mechanicsburg in the playoffs.
This year, as the coach of Spencerville, the Bearcat leader vanquished that football demon after posting a 34-0 shutout over the Indians in the first round of the Division VI football playoffs Friday night.
With the win, Spencerville will face Marion Local on Friday night at a site to be determined. The Flyers produced a 27-0 win over Fort Recovery in its first round playoff game Friday night.
“This is a huge win,” Sommers said. “They are such a good team, and coach (Kurt) Forest does such a good job with them. They are a dangerous team, and we knew it was going to be a physical game, and I am really proud of our guys.”
Spencerville’s dominating defense proved to be the difference, and Sommers credited the players’ and coaches’ preparation prior to the game for the scoreless outcome. The Bearcats shut down a Mechanicsburg team averaging 30.6 points a contest.
“I think our assistant coaches did a great job with the game plan and preparing the guys,” Sommers said. “Our guys just came out and executed today. … We knew we were going to need to be physical today and they were.”
How dominating was the Bearcat defense?
Spencerville did not allow Mechanicsburg a first down until the 9:14 mark of the fourth quarter. The Bearcats also did not allow the Indians to complete a pass, as Mechanicsburg quarterback Logan Hurst was a dismal 0-for-9 through the air. Coming into the game, the Indians quarterback had passed for 1,331 yards.
On the ground, the Bearcats held Mechanicsburg to 72 yards. Dustin Knapp, who had led the Indians with 923 yards during the regular season, managed 63 yards on 14 carries.
While the defense was getting the job done, the Spencerville offense began to establish itself in the first half and then exploded in the second half.
Bearcat running back Chris Picker, who had 77 yards at halftime, finished with 261 yards on 31 carries with four touchdowns. In the final two quarters, Picker had runs of 43, 25 and 68 yards for touchdowns to break open the game. In the first half, Picker scored on a six yard run in the first half.
Spencerville’s Joel Lotz, who amassed 45 yards on 12 carries, had the Bearcats’ other touchdown.
“We had some opportunities in the first half, “ Sommers said. “We just could not capitalize on them, and that is a credit to Mechanicsburg and their defense. We needed to come out and continue what we did and in the first half, and I thought we picked it up a notch when we needed to.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1