Gritty Buhler beats Collegiate
It is in Jake Gehring that you might be able to get an idea of exactly how the Buhler football team managed to pull off a 28-21, come-from-behind victory at Collegiate on Friday night.
In a 5-foot-9 (maybe, if he’s lucky) 160-pound defensive tackle who also returns punts and goes toe-to-toe with players 100 pounds bigger than him all night, yeah, you might be able to get that answer.
“(Gehring) absolutely plays his heart out,” Buhler coach Steve Warner said. “He will not stop coming at you and he has been simply great for us these first two games.”
Undersized and unafraid, Gehring and the rest of the Crusaders rallied from a 21-7 halftime deficit for the win, overcoming a monster first half by Collegiate’s Markus Phox, who finished with 169 receiving yards and three touchdowns — although 159 yards and all three scores came in the first half.
“That’s just a tough loss, a tough one to swallow,” Collegiate coach Mike Gehrer said. “We made some stupid mistakes in the second half. We’ve got to learn from this and keep moving.”
Collegiate seemed unstoppable early with the Landon Root-to-Phox connection, hitting for touchdowns of 52, 56 and 42 yards, but the Crusaders triple-teamed Phox in the second half, stacking a linebacker and a safety on him and bringing over a corner when need be.
“Once they started that shift, it made it really hard to get open,” Phox said. “And then we made some turnovers that killed us.”
Buhler started its furious rally right after halftime, scoring on a 14-yard touchdown by Riley Allen to make the score 21-14 and then tying the score on its next drive thanks to a 40-yard punt return by Gehring, who snatched the ball from underneath a Collegiate player who was ready to down it near the Buhler sideline. He ran the ball back to the Spartans’ 14-yard line, setting up a 2-yard touchdown run by Allen to tie the game at 21-21.
“I heard my coaches saying ‘Let it go! Let it go!’” said Gehring, who also had two sacks. “So I grabbed it and took off.”
On Collegiate’s next series, the Spartans snapped the ball while Root was in shotgun formation and still looking at a wide receiver. Buhler recovered deep in Collegiate territory and quarterback Luke Berblinger scored on a 6-yard run for a 28-21 lead late in the third quarter.
Collegiate would snuff another one of its’ drives in the fourth quarter on an Isiah Franklin fumble in Buhler territory. Buhler got the ball back and drove to Collegiate’s 1-yard line before taking a knee and running out the clock for the victory.
Allen finished with 195 rushing yards on 35 carries. Buhler did not allow a Collegiate first down in the third quarter.
“Our kids believe in themselves, because of how hard they’ve worked,” Warner said. “We believe we are a second-half team and tonight, they went out and owned it.”
C—Phox 52 pass from Root (Moxley kick)
C—Phox 56 pass from Root (Moxley kick)
B—Keeler 13 pass from Berblinger (Perry kick) 1:38 2nd
C—Phox 42 pass from Root (Moxley kick) :57 3rd
B—Allen 14 run (Perry kick) 8:17 3rd
B—Allen 2 run (Perry kick) 5:00 3rd
B—Berblinger 6 run (Perry kick
Rushing — Buhler, Allen 35-196, Berblinger 9-33, Davidson 2-13, Gehring 1-9, Perry 2-5. Collegiate, Franklin 17-75, Root 11-(-7), Phox 2-3.
Passing — Buhler, Berblinger 8-13-94-2. Collegiate, Root 9-12-188-0.
Receiving — Buhler, Schmidt 5-59, Shantz 1-8, Keeler 1-13, Short 1-14. Collegiate, Short 1-12, Phox 5-169, Franklin 1-5, Fleming 2-2.