Bethel’s playoff hopes were bruised Thursday night as Prague’s Red Devils accumulated more than 400 yards of offense and turned a 32-0 halftime lead into a 38-13 final in a District 3A-4 encounter.


Bethel’s playoff hopes were bruised Thursday night as Prague’s Red Devils accumulated more than 400 yards of offense and turned a 32-0 halftime lead into a 38-13 final in a District 3A-4 encounter.
Bethel managed just five first-half first downs and was held to 28 yards rushing and 37 yards through the air over the first 24 minutes of play. The Wildcats ended the night with 136 yards on the ground and 46 passing yards.
Conversely, the Red Devils churned out 16 first downs and 311 yards in the first two quarters.
The officials employed a running clock in the second half.
The loss drops Bethel to 4-4 overall and 1-3 against 3A-4 opponents. Prague moves to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the district.
Each team’s opening drive — beginning with Prague — mirrored the other as passes were picked off when they glanced off the fingers of the intended receivers. The key difference is that the Devils capitalized when they got the ball back. Quarterback Gage Auld punctuated the eight-play, 48-yard march with a 3-yard punch with 5:08 to go in the first period.
Bethel was forced to punt on its next possession, and Prague made the most of the opportunity with a three-play drive that ended with Auld’s 40-yard TD toss to Damon Palmer with 1:43 to go in the first. The Devils then scored on their first two touches in the second quarter — on a 19-yard rush by Daelen McClendon and a 5-yard Auld-to-Palmer pass.
Palmer finished the night with three touchdowns and 114 yards on just four catches. He scored his third TD on a 47-yard reception with 1:56 left in the first half.
After missing twice in the first quarter, Tyler Outerkirk hit both of his point-after kicks in the second quarter to lift Prague to a 32-0 edge at the break.
The Red Devils nudged their lead to 38-0 in the third quarter on a 14-yard screen toss from Auld to McClendon. McClendon ran in from 4 yards out on the previous play, but that score was negated on a holding penalty.
McClendon, a junior, came away as the game’s top rusher with 114 yards on 14 carries. He and the remaining Prague starters exited the game after the Red Devils’ first offensive series of the second half.
Bethel avoided the shutout with two scores in the waning minutes. Despite being flagged twice on their fifth possession of the half, the Wildcats finished the 31-yard trek with Justin Vermillion’s 13-yard rushing touchdown. The drive was initiated by a fumble recovery, and it was Prague’s only fumble of the contest.
The Wildcats scored again with 14 ticks left on an 11-yard run by Tyler Hughes. Vermillion had missed his first PAT kick, but cleanly hit the second.
Vermillion was Bethel’s leading rusher with his TD and 94 yards on 21 carries. Hughes came away with 34 yards and his score on four totes.
Bethel starting quarterback Thomas Scott hit four of 12 passes for 33 yards, and Hughes finished with 9 yards on one connection. J.T. Ketch and Colton Carter were the Wildcats’ top receivers with 16 yards and 18 yards, respectively, on a combined five catches.
Auld ended the game with 160 passing yards and four touchdowns while completing eight of 10 passes.
Bethel will host District 3A-4 opponent Chandler Oct. 29. Chandler fell to 1-3 in the district Thursday with a loss to Perkins-Tryon.
Prague will host Little Axe in a 3A-4 clash Oct. 29.