It was quite a day for Jonathan Alder senior Trey Pugh. It started when he signed his National Letter of Intent to play football Friday afternoon.
Friday night? He gashed the Buckeye Valley defense for 162 yards and three touchdowns to help the Pioneers to a 28-20 victory in MOAC-Red play at Volunteer Field in Plain City.
“We were there … we just couldn’t find a way to win it,” Barons coach Matt Stephens said.
Pugh’s 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter gave the Pioneers the lead for good. Jamie Dye added a 62-yard score for the other touchdown.
“(Pugh’s) size and strength (make him a difficult runner to stop) … he always keeps his legs going,” Stephens said. “He knows that guys are going to his legs – he’s pretty agile on his feet.”
Pugh broke off a 43-yard touchdown run, going down the right sideline on a direct snap on Alder’s second possession to give the Pioneers (6-0, 3-0) a 7-0 lead with 5:42 left in the first quarter.
He followed that with runs of 15 and 38 yards to set up his second touchdown – a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal to push the lead to 14-0 with 9:37 left in the first half.
“(Alder) makes it hard for us because he’s at quarterback, he’s at running back, he’s at wide out, he’s at slot – so, it makes it hard for us to game plan against him,” Stephens said.
Pugh added a key sack on fourth down in the fourth quarter to stop BV in its bid to tie the game late.
It was BV’s last crack at the Pioneers, who are leaving the MOAC after this season to join the Central Buckeye Conference. Alder has won each of the four meetings against the Barons since joining the league before the 2013 season.
“Coming into the season, when you look at your schedule, Jonathan Alder has been the team that has been conference champion … so, you mark that,” Stephens said. “We were excited to have the opportunity to go up and play against them and we fell short.”
Down 14 points in the second quarter, the Barons fought back. Ben Spaulding led a 12-play, 69-yard drive with five completions, including a 21-yarder to Joey Verdes to open the drive.
“We weren’t in any panic mode – we knew that we could move the football on that defense and we did,” Stephens said. “I just thought we had to execute and we did. Once we got in decent field position, we scored.”
Spaulding found Chris Santillan on the left from 5 yards out to cap the drive. BV missed the conversion and trailed 14-6 with 6:20 left in the half.
Carson James recovered a Spaulding onside kick at the Alder 43-yard line after the touchdown. But, the Barons couldn’t take advantage and turned it over on downs. BV was 2-for-7 on fourth down with all five misses coming in Alder territory.
“We would have liked to capitalize on the onside, but we just weren’t able to,” Stephens said.
Trent Davies scored from 8 yards out midway through the third quarter and Spaulding found Santillan on the two-point conversion to tie it up. Davies led the Barons (3-3, 2-1) with 70 yards rushing on 20 carries.
The tying touchdown was set up by a Wes Cochran interception. He sniffed out a screen play and stepped in front of the receiver to make the pick.
Down 21-14, Spaulding and Santillan hooked up on a deep ball for 40 yards.
Spaulding kept the drive alive with a completion to Tanner Hogg 15 yards down to the 1-yard line on fourth down.
Spaulding went 24-for-47 for 236 yards and a touchdown. Santillan finished with 120 yards receiving on 13 catches. Verdes had 49 yards, Hogg had 43 yards and Koltan Kantzer added 39 yards receiving.
“They gave us the flats and we were taking what they were giving us,” Stephens said. “Ben went through his reads and Chris is a good guy to throw it to because when he catches, he’s a guy that can get some extra yards.”
Alder’s Nolan Larison bolted through and stopped Davies for minus-5 on the next play.
But, Spaulding scrambled in from 6 yards out to cut the lead to one after his pass on the two-point conversion failed.
Dye scored his long touchdown on the ensuing possession’s second play.
The Barons outgained Alder 349-296.
BV continues league play at Marion Pleasant Friday night at 7 p.m.