SPENCERVILLE — Chris Picker, Chris Picker, Chris Picker.
Delphos Jefferson probably got a little tired of hearing the public address announcer call the Spencerville running back’s name.
Picker plowed straight ahead for 256 yards on 36 carries to help Spencerville defeat Delphos Jefferson 38-6 Friday at Spencerville.
With the victory, Spencerville clinched the outright Northwest Conference title for the first time since 1963. The Bearcats last shared the NWC title in 1996.
Picker had four TDs on runs of 3, 37, 4 and 4 yards.
“This means everything; this town has deserved it for a long time,” Picker said. “I think I say it for the whole community that we wanted it more than anything. It was great.’’
Spencerville (8-2, 7-0 NWC) won its last eight regular-season games after starting the year 0-2.
“We have really good players, and I’m proud of them,” Spencerville coach Chris Sommers said. “We have a great coaching staff. These guys deserve it.
“After 0-2, I told them they were a good team. I told them they could play better. … They took it to heart.’’
Picker added, “I think after being 0-2, we were all hungry. Once we got one win, we wanted more.’’
The Bearcats are now off to the playoffs.
Jefferson ends the year 6-4, 4-3 NWC.
Spencerville led 7-6 at the half but began its total domination on the ground in the second half.
“I think the offensive line had a good second half,” Sommers said. “I thought they played well.’’
But it was the Bearcats’ lone pass play which set up a key score.
On the fourth play of the third quarter, Kale Lee hit Joel Lotz out of the backfield for a 41-yard completion down field to take the ball to the Jefferson 3.
“That surprised me too,” Sommers said with a laugh. “But Kale has gotten better each week, and I’m really proud of him.’’
Picker ran it over from the 3, and the Spencerville lead went to 14-6.
Picker bounced back from losing a fumble at the Jefferson 3 at the end of the first half on a cold, rainy, muddy night.
“I told myself that mistakes happen, and you have to let it go,” Picker said.
On the third play of the next drive, Picker looked like he was stopped at the line. Then, he suddenly popped out, hit a jet stream and ran for a 37-yard TD. That gave Spencerville a 20-6 lead with 7:01 left in the third.
Often Picker was slammed at the line, only to keep churning for eight yards.
“If the line is going to block as well as they did, I have to push myself as well as I can,” Picker said.
Picker then had two TDs runs of 4 yards each in the final quarter. That expanded the Bearcats’ lead to 32-6.
Spencerville’s Cannan Johnson ran for 55 yards on 11 carries with one TD. Lotz rushed for 40 yards on seven carries.
Jefferson’s top rusher, Brenen Auer, was held to 60 yards on 19 carries with one TD.
With the rain, teams are run happy. And that’s what both did from the start.
Spencerville went 70 yards in 10 plays for a score the first time it touched the ball. Picker banged ahead for 38 yards on five carries on the drive. Johnson swept the right side for a 5-yard TD. That gave the Bearcats a 7-0 lead with 6:09 in the first quarter.
Jefferson took the ball on the next kickoff and ground out an impressive 17-play, 65-yard drive. Auer swept the left side for a 6-yard TD, but a botched snap prevented the point after. With 9:44 left in the first half, Spencerville was on top 7-6.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.
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