think about.” Beighle's third successful extra point gave the visiting Red Devils a stunning 21-20 win over host Bellefontaine.
So, with the game tied at 20-20 late in the fourth quarter, was Beighle nervous going for the eventual game winner?
“I felt confident going in,” said Beighle, a senior who hammered through the extra point to give Tipp a 21-20 win over Bellefontaine on Friday. “I don’t have to do anything else. Kicking is all I have to think about.”
His teammates, though, had plenty to fret about in a key Central Buckeye Conference game. In addition to the Kenton Trail Division lead, computer points in Division III, Region 10 were also up for grabs. Bellefontaine (5-1, 0-1 CBC) entered No. 2 in the region. Tipp (6-0, 1-0) was No. 6. Bellefontaine was also ranked No. 4 in the state. Tipp was 10th.
“Coach told us before the game big players make big plays in big games,” said Tipp junior quarterback Wes Marsh. “That’s what I wanted to do. Luckily our defense pulled it out in the end.”
Bellefontaine, down 14-7 at halftime, rallied to tie on senior running back Sean Egler’s 2-yard dive with 56 seconds left in the third quarter. After forcing a three-and-out from Tipp, Bellefontaine capped an eight-play drive with junior Zach Mosbarger’s 2-yard run with 8:07 left in the game. The Chieftains, leading 20-14, converted two third-downs on the 63-yard drive.
The Red Devils, though, did the Chieftains one better. They converted a pair of third downs and one fourth down on the game-winning, 70-yard march. Senior running back Kyle Corbin’s 1-yard plunge — his third touchdown of the game — tied it at 20-20 with 2:28 left. Beighle then booted the PAT.
“We talk all along about giving ourselves a chance to win the game. We did that,” said Tippecanoe coach Charlie Burgbacher. “The kids put themselves in that position.”
On third-and-4 at their own 36, Marsh hit senior John Krall for a 14-yard gain. Facing third-and-5 at the Chieftains’ 49, Marsh found junior Allen Comer for 11 yards. On fourth-and-8 at Bellefontaine’s 22, Marsh again hooked up with Comer for 21 yards. Corbin scored on the next play.
“In the first half I was a little worried about their speed on defense because they’re great athletes,” said Marsh, who completed 7-of-11 passes for 76 yards. “Once we got down I knew being nervous wasn’t going to help me.”
Bellefontaine, which started on its own 20, moved to Tipp’s 36 with just over 40 seconds left. A pass interference call on third-and-10 and a 21-yard strike from Bellefontaine senior quarterback Keith Morgan to sophomore Brandon Winter kept the drive moving.
The Chieftains moved into Tipp territory. But a fumble and intentional grounding penalty was followed by two incomplete passes. The last pass attempt, on fourth-and-9 from their own 36, glanced off the hand of a leaping receiver. Tipp then ran out the clock.
“I’m very proud of our kids,” said Bellefontaine coach Jason Brown. “I want them to hold their heads high.”
Morgan completed 6-of-13 passes for 73 yards. He also rushed for 37 yards on 8 attempts. Morgan and Egler (14 carries for 88 yards) had Tipp down early. Morgan took the opening kickoff 49 yards. Egler — a speedy back slowed by a nagging ankle injury — then ripped off a 24-yard run. Morgan scored on a 26-yard run two plays later.
“They had players make plays, too,” Burgbacher said. “I’ll tell you Morgan … I’ll be glad to see him graduate. He made big plays.”
While Bellefontaine used its two-back attack, Tipp threw Corbin (23-107), Dustin Colbert (7-51), Comer (7-41) Andrew Dunkin (4-37) and John Krall (6-17) at the Chieftains. The Red Devils blew open big holes in the first half. The Chieftains jammed them up in the second.
“We went toe-to-toe with them and they came out on top,” Brown said. “Our defense really stepped up in the second half and got us the football. It felt like our kids had some pep in their step in the second half. We just didn’t get it done.”