Gehlen Catholic edges Hinton in district football clash

Tuesday, September 20, 2022
(Photo By Sam Wagner) Gehlen’s Keaten Bonderson tries to dodge a group of Hinton defenders closing in on him in Friday’s district contest. Bonderson returned a punt for a touchdown to help the Jays rally in the second half.

HINTON — Rivals Gehlen Catholic and Hinton met Friday in a Class A District 1 battle. The host Blackhawks saw a 20-7 halftime advantage disappear as the Jays battled back for a 28-26 win.

“We played our worst half of football in the first half. We were not ready to play. We got ourselves in a big hole,” Gehlen Head Coach Jeremy Schindler said. “We did not match their energy and intensity. We played flat. We had zero energy and enthusiasm.”

Gehlen did lead for a few minutes in the second quarter as Connor Kraft scored on a 5-yard run which answered a first quarter touchdown run of three yards for Garrett Lindley. Gehlen made their kick from Keaton Logan while Hinton’s kick try failed, putting the score at 7-6. Still, the Jays looked a little lackluster in the first half without Aiden Spangler.

“We’re missing Aiden Spangler for a couple of weeks probably while he works through a shoulder injury. He’s our guy who is the spark out there. He is our vocal and emotional leader,” Schindler said. “The rest of our guys, they are good football players, but they are more quiet guys.”

Hinton swung the momentum back in their favor before the end of the half as Dylan Hartman rushed for a 5-yard score and Glen Carlson completed a pass to Caden Winters for nine yards and a touchdown.

Gehlen got into more of a rhythm in the second half and used a special teams play to take another one point lead at 21-20.

“Our offensive line started to take the game over like I knew they could,” Schindler said. “We were able to score on a long drive where we were able to run and throw effectively. Then Keaten Bonderson returned a punt for a touchdown and that gave us the spark.”

The touchdown drive was finished off with Kraft’s second scoring rush of the game, this one from the 8-yard line, as he finished the game with 32 rushing yards and was 12-of-22 passing for 102 yards. Bonderson followed with the big punt return of 64 yards for the score. It was his second special teams score of the season.

Hinton gave the ball to their top running back Beau DeRocher and he gave them a 34-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. It was part of 159 rushing yards on 21 carries for the senior.

(Photo By Sam Wagner) Beau DeRocher of Hinton carries the ball in Friday’s game. He finished with 159 rushing yards.

“Offensively we played very well up front and were able to create some big holes in the run game for Beau DeRocher and Garrett Lindley,” Hinton Head Coach Kadrian Hardersen said. “Beau had a tremendous game again. He seems to run harder as the game goes on and gets better with every touch of the football.”

The Blackhawks failed on the 2-point conversion try as they held a 26-21 lead.

A few minutes later, Gehlen took the lead back for good, scoring on a 17-yard pass from Kraft to Ryan Augustine. Augustine ended as the top receiver in the game with five catches for 50 yards.

Hardersen said it was a tough game to lose.

“That one was hard to swallow. I think we had a good game plan in place and executed it pretty well, but we weren’t able to overcome some missed opportunities and one bad play on special teams,” Hardersen said. “Gehlen fought the entire night and they deserve a lot of credit for how hard they played without one of their best players. We need to learn from this game and understand the level of execution that it takes to win close games.”

Gehlen has won the last two meetings in the series. The Jays improved to 3-1 with the win and 1-1 in district games. Up next for the team is another district contest as they host Akron-Westfield.

Hinton falls to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in district games. They will host Westwood in a non-district contest for homecoming on Friday.

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