BETHEL ACRES — A roll of the dice. With 1:29 left on the clock and holding a slim two-point lead, the Bethel Wildcats converted a fourth down and two at their own 40-yard line to hold on for the 29-27 win over the Tecumseh Savages Friday night.
“I had faith in these guys,” said Bethel head coach Joey Ginn. “It just felt like the right time to roll the dice.”
The offensive alignment on the fourth down play looked like it could be a quick kick or a power run up the middle. Offensive coordinator Brandon Blizzard had a different idea. Gunner Smith took the snap and found an open receiver down the middle of the field. Freshman Bronc Robbins stretched out to grab the pass off of his fingertips for the 20-yard gain. This ended any real chance for Tecumseh.
Bethel opened up a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. Tecumseh, on the first drive of the game lost a fumble to the Wildcats setting them up with a short field. It took just three plays for Bethel to score. Jaylon Gordon scored on a Smith pass from two yards out with 10:48 on the first quarter clock.
It was déjà vu all over again on Tecumseh’s next drive as they put the ball on the ground on the next drive.
Two plays later Corey Metscher went on a 50-yard scoring jaunt to increase the lead to 13-0 with 7:52 left in the opening quarter.
Tecumseh started to get the running game on track towards the end of the quarter and Jaylen Walker was right in the middle of it. Walker scored from 10-yards out to cut the lead to 13-7.He carried the ball four times on the drive for 49 yards.
After a defensive stop by the Savages, they went touchdown hunting again and Walker scored from four yards out on an 11-play drive.
Tecumseh led 14-13 with 8:38 left in the half.
The two squads traded defensive stops, and Tecumseh caught a break late in the half. Senior Clayton Rackley picked off a Smith offering that set his Savages up on the Bethel 43-yard line.
Walker wasted no time in getting his third score of the half. He took the handoff and bolted 43 yards for the score. Tecumseh led 21-13 at the half.
Walker finished the half with 153 yards and three touchdowns.
Bethel scored first on the second half, and did so on the Savages' third turnover of the game. Devin Acklin picked off a Will Hilton pass on the Tecumseh 34 yard line. Smith scored from 11 yards out the on the eighth play of the drive. Tecumseh led 21-20.
The Wildcats regained the lead on their next possession when Alex Brown naiuled a 28 yard field goal. Bethel was up 23-21 with 2:25 left in the third.
Once again the Savages were bitten by the turnover bug on their next drive. Jessde Tucker picked off Hilton on a deep attempt.
The Wildcats marched 86 yards for the decisive score. Drae Wood electrified the crowd on a 55-yard pass receptions from Smtih, pulling away from all Savage defenders.
Bethel led 29-21 with 9:55 remaining in the game.
Tecumseh cut the margin to 29-27 on Walker’s fourth touchdown of the gane. He scored from 16 yards out, with 3:09 left, setting up the fourth down heroics on the next Bethel drive.
Walker finished with 217 yards on 24 carries.
Smith threw for 200 yards for Bethel. He hit 13 of his 24 attempts. The Tecumseh defense put the clamps on Bethel’s running game, holding them to 72 yards on 26 totes.
The savages out gained Bethel 353 to 272 total yards.
Tecumseh will travel to face Seminole next Friday night while the Wildcats will play host to the McLoud Redskins.