BATH TOWNSHIP – It was the 31st all-time meeting between Allen East and Bath in high school football.
Bath had won 21 of those matchups, coming into Friday’s nonconference season opener.
Throw out the records.
Friday’s contest between the two backyard rivals looked to be hard fought from the opening kick-off.
In the first half, the lead changed hands twice as Allen East went into the halftime break with a 13-7 lead.
However, in the end, it was a 24-yard field goal by Allen East’s Bradden Crumrine that gave the Mustangs a thrilling 24-21 victory over Bath.
“It’s pretty exciting,” an elated Crumrine said. “There are so many things that can go wrong, and that can go right in a game. It just happened to go right for us.
“We got the second chance at the kick (after a Bath penalty) and we got it done.”
After a three-and-out for Bath in the first drive of the game, Allen East took over and promptly mounted an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive to take an early 6-0 lead with 5:50 left in the first quarter.
Allen East quarterback Bryce Belcher was pin-point on his passing in the Mustangs’ first possession, completing 6 of 8 passes for 62 yards in the scoring drive. Belcher connected with Bradden Crumrine for a 25-yard touchdown pass to give his team the early lead.
Bath responded on its next possession.
The Wildcats traveled 61 yards in eight plays to hit pay dirt. Trey Johnson capped off the scoring drive with a 3-yard run. With the point after by Keaton Liles, Bath led 7-6.
But Allen East had a quick answer.
Belcher connected with Cole Fletcher for a 75-yard TD pass on the second play of the ensuing drive to recapture the lead. With the extra point by Bradden Crumrine, the Mustangs led 13-7 with 10:20 left in the first half.
In the first half, Belcher was 10-of-16 passing for 164 yards. Allen East rushed for another 38 yards in the first half.
Bath quarterback Lex Boedicker was 2-of-7 passing for 37 yards in the first half. The Wildcats rushed for another 38 yards in the first two quarters.
Bath took the lead back in the third quarter, on a 23-yard scoring strike from Boedicker to Lucas Prichard, less than four minutes into the second half. With the extra point, Bath now led 14-13, which held up until the end of the third quarter.
But Bath wasn’t done.
Just seconds into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats extended their lead to 21-13 on a 7-yard TD run by Boedicker.
Allen East also had an answer.
The Mustangs drove 72 yards on seven plays to cash in. Belcher capped off the long scoring drive with a 5-yard TD run. The Mustangs then converted the two-point conversion to knot the game at 21-21.
Bath recovered a fumble with 4:09 left to play in the game. Carter Parlapiano recovered the loose pigskin for Bath.
The Wildcats started at their own 44-yard line, but failed to take advantage the opportunity.
Allen East had the ball back, with 1:53 left to play.
After a 51-yard pass completion from Belcher to Logan McCluer, the Mustangs were knocking at the door.
With five seconds left to play in regulation, Crumrine attempted a 28-yard field goal.
On that attempt by Crumrine, a Bath penalty moved the football up 4 yards.
On Crumrine’s next attempt, he split the uprights from 24 yards out with no time left on the clock.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.