Bowling Green topples Christian County 29-7
With the way the seeding and matchups are in the Class 5A playoff bracket, Bowling Green senior DeVito Tisdale and his teammates knew that Friday night’s first-round playoff game against Christian County could be the Purples’ last game at El Donaldson Stadium this season.
Tisdale and the Purples made the most of what was potentially their last home game of the season by defeating the Colonels by a score of 29-7 to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the 16thconsecutive year.
“We knew coming out that it was potentially the last game in the stadium,” Tisdale said. “We just wanted to go out and make a memory out of it for the seniors. We just went out there and played.”
Bowling Green (9-2) was in steady control the entire game by playing well in every aspect. The Purples held a 15-0 advantage at halftime and pushed their advantage to 29-0 before the Colonels found the end zone late.
“I like a lot of things that we did,” Bowling Green coach Mark Spader said. “I thought we took care of things for the most part defensively. Offensively not a lot of points on the board but I thought we ran the ball well, and that was something that going into this game—against a good front—we needed to be able to move the ball on the ground.”
Evan Spader led a balanced Purple rushing attack with 45 yards and a score on five carries while Tisdale had 41 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Senior quarterback Beau Buchanan completed 10-of-18 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns as Zakery Brussel and Scotty Brown both hauled in touchdown receptions.
But the Purples’ defense was the main story. After giving up a combined 100 points to Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) and South Warren, the Purples have given up just seven total points in their last two games.
“We just had to start getting more physical,” senior linebacker Miles Smith said. “We were getting beat up front really bad, and DBs were getting beat up, too. We just had to become stronger and more mentally tough and that’s what we’ve done the last two weeks.”
Christian County (4-7) had two trips inside the red zone, but both of those scoring opportunities were thwarted by the Purples. Jaylen Wardlow intercepted Christian County quarterback Donte Abren’s pass to the end zone with 40 seconds to go before halftime, and Bowling Green stopped Christian County cold on fourth down at the Purple 6-yard line in the second half.
“I just think it was big for our defense because we haven’t done that this year,” Coach Spader said. “The point I make to them is every great championship team we’ve had come through here has been hard to score against in the red zone.”
Bowling Green posted the first numbers on the scoreboard with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Buchanan to Brassel, and the Purples extended their lead to 15-0 when Tisdale took a handoff and scampered in for a touchdown on 3rd-and-4 from the Colonel 9-yard line. The Colonels had a chance to score late in the half after a Purple fumble in the backfield before Wardlow stepped up and made the interception.
Buchanan recorded his second touchdown pass of the night when he connected with Scotty Brown on a 45-yard strike that made it 22-0—the scoring play coming just a couple plays after Eli Burwash returned a Colonel punt 25 yards all the way to the Christian 40-yard line.
Spader stripped the ball away from Christian County’s Tyler West to give the Purples near midfield toward the end of regulation, and the Purples drove down the field before Spader punched it in from three yards out to give the Purples a 29-0 lead with 2:53 left.
Christian County finally found the end zone late as Abren tossed it to Jadonavin McNeal, who ran 32 yards up the left sideline and into the end zone for the Colonels’ lone score of the night.
Abren finished with 104 yards and one touchdown on 8-of-17 passing while McNeal tallied 63 rushing yards on 17 attempts to complement his receiving touchdown.
Bowling Green will now shift its focus to archrival Owensboro next Friday as the Purples travel to face the Red Devils at Rash Stadium. Owensboro advanced with a 47-14 victory over Greenwood on Friday night, and the Red Devils will be looking to avenge a 21-12 loss to Bowling Green back on Sept. 7.
“It’s kind of sad to think that there are no more games at The El, but we’re in the playoffs and we’re in it to win so it’s on to Owensboro next week,” Coach Spader said. “We’ve been over there once this year and we know it’s going to be a tough task. We have some exciting stories from Rash Stadium in our history; it’s our oldest existing rivalry. It’s what we have to do to move on through the playoffs, but that’s that we have to focus on now.”
“We know they’re a good team,” Tisdale said. “They are just like we are. It’s a big rivalry, and we hope to continue that and get a win to play in the third round.”
Bowling Green 29, Christian County 7
Christian Co. 0 0 0 7 —7
Bowling Green 8 7 7 7 —29
BG—12 yd pass Buchanan to Brassel (Jamill Smith run)
BG—9 yd run Tisdale (Dalton Major kick)
BG—45 yd pass Buchanan to Brown (Major kick)
BG—3 yd run Spader (Major kick)
CC—32 yd pass Abren to McNeal (kick)