Bluffton’s Friday night at Leonard Price Field got off to a rocky start and never recovered.
The unbeaten Gilbert Indians recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, found the end zone three plays later and kept their offense rumbling en route to a 48-21 victory against the Bobcats in the second round of the 3A playoffs.
Gilbert (12-0) hosts Dillon on Friday in the third round. Dillon, also unbeaten at 12-0, defeated Bishop England 43-12 on Friday.
“It’s gonna be a huge game,” Gilbert coach Chad Leaphart said. “That’s what we work hard for is games like next week. To have those guys come to town, that’ll be big for our team. We’ll be fired up. They’ve been the standard bearer for lower state football for years, and our kids are gonna test themselves.”
The only thing Gilbert couldn’t do is contain Bluffton wide receiver Jermaine Patterson. Quarterback Hunter Eldridge found his man for three touchdown passes, which accounted for the only scores for the Bobcats (8-4).
In spite of four fumbles and three lost, Gilbert kept the offense cranking with runs from Cody Temples. Temples finished the night with 214 yards and three TDs on 27 carries.
Patterson accounted for all of Bluffton’s passing offense with four catches for 168 yards. The Bobcats had 40 yards rushing.
34: First downs for Gilbert on the night. Bluffton had just six, including the three from Jermaine Patterson’s catch-and-run scores.
553: Total offensive yards for the Indians offense on 83 snaps; 387 rushing yards and 166 passing yards
THEY SAID IT
“13 (Patterson), he’s the real deal. He looked good on film, and he got away from us tonight. In the second half, we saw how quick they could strike on us, so I just got it in my head that we’re gonna run it at these guys.” – Gilbert coach Chad Leaphart
“We worked real hard this week. We gave up a good bit of deep throws, but we came out with a ‘W’.” – Defensive end Darius Bell, who accounted for two sacks with teammate John Fanning in the first half
HOW THEY SCORED
G – Manny Bright 22 pass from Josh Strickland (Tanner Watson kick), 11:23
G – Peyton Loper 11 pass from Jy Tolen (Watson kick,) 2:10
B – Jermaine Patterson 25 pass from Hunter Eldridge (Evan Hayes kick), 11:54
G – Cody Temples 2 run (Watson kick), 8:27
G – DeAndre Cook 5 run (Watson kick), :14
B – Patterson 54 pass from Eldridge (Evan Hayes kick), 10:30
G -Cook 4 run (kick failed) 7:01
B – Patterson 78 pass from Eldridge (Evan Hayes kick), 1:58
G – Temples 10 run (Watson kick), 10:23
G – Temples 5 run (Watson kick), 7:48
Rushing: Bluffton – Josh Staple 11-38, John Swinton 2-10, Hunter Eldridge 4-(-13). Gilbert – Cody Temples 27-214, DeAndre Cook 23-110, Matt Reed 4-18, Jy Tolen 4-21, Byron Jackson 1-5, Josh Strickland 1-(-1), Manny Bright 2-9, Rab Reeder 1-11.
Passing: Bluffton – Hunter Eldridge 5-11-1, team 0-1-1. Gilbert – Josh Strickland 10-13-0, Jy Tolen 9-13-0.
Receiving: Bluffton – Jermaine Patterson 4-168, l’Kiem Jefferson 1-0. Gilbert – Manny Bright 11-97, Gage Sease 2-17, Peyton Loper 3-26, Rab Reeder 1-0, DeAndre Cook 2-21, Matt Reed 1-5.