TEMPERANCE — Bedford senior quarterback Brad Boss accounted for four touchdowns and 256 total yards, which was more than enough for a stubborn Mules defense Friday night.
Bedford blasted St. Francis de Sales 56-25 behind a 128-yard rushing performance from Boss. The Mules scored the game’s first four touchdowns and ran away.
Boss executed his team’s flexbone veer option attack to perfection, scoring on runs of 3, 55, and 7 yards. He also completed 6 of 7 passes for 128 yards.
“It starts with the offensive line,” Boss said. “They give me time to pass and holes to run through. They are the key to our success. This felt awesome with this crowd.”
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Boss connected with Collin Carter on an 80-yard TD strike for a 29-0 lead late in the second quarter.
“He’s an outstanding veer quarterback,” Bedford coach Jeff Wood said. “There is no question that Army, Navy, or Air Force would be happy with a kid like that running their offense. He has great footwork and reads the option so well. We went for the jugular a couple times, and he got it done.”
Carter had four catches for 105 yards and two scores. Bedford fullback Alec Hullibarger rushed for 76 yards and two scores (1 and 24 yards).
“It started with the offensive line, the big guys up front,” Hullibarger said. “They make it happen and we follow after them.”
St. Francis threw two interceptions and also had a punt returned for a touchdown in the first half.
Knights QB David Nees completed 18 of 31 passes for 270 yards and two scores. St. Francis receiver Andrew Bonfiglio finished with eight receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
St. Francis coach Chris Hedden said the goal was to stop Hullibarger.
“We did a good job of that, but their quarterback is a great quarterback, and they run a unique offense,” Hedden said. “We thought we had a plan in place but it wasn’t good enough to stop what they do.”
Bedford led 29-3 at the half. Boss completed 5 of 6 passes for 118 yards and one TD. He also rushed for 42 yards and another score.
“I have the utmost confidence he was going to make the right reads,” Wood said.
Bedford made it 14-0 early on a truly bizarre play. After the snap went over St. Francis punter Drew Stark’s head, he picked it up in the end zone and tried to get the kick off. But the short boot went right into the arms of Mule defender Drake Cowell who was credited with the score.
The Mules then seized a 22-0 lead 43 seconds into the second quarter. Lucas Mayo set up the score with an interception. Boss then led Bedford on a 77-yard drive, capping it off with a three-yard dive.
The Mules’ fourth score came moments after another strange play. St. Francis looked like it had gotten on the board with a safety. Bedford’s Connor Clements intercepted a pass in the end zone and then tried to run it out, only to be tackled. The officials initially ruled it a safety, but after conferring they ruled it an automatic touchback.
“Our kids were playing so hard on defense and made some plays,” Wood said. “We shut their run game down and made them one dimensional.”
Bedford then immediately went up 29-0 as Boss hit Carter, who was open down the sideline, in stride.
Hullibarger opened the scoring with a one-yard run. The eight play, 50-yard drive all came on the ground. Boss carried four times for 35 yards on the march.
St. Francis got on the board on a 21-yard field goal by Stark with three seconds left in first half.
After recovering a loose ball on the second half kickoff, St. Francis made it 29-10 on a 23-yard screen pass from Nees to Bonfiglio.
But Bedford responded with a five play, 72-yard drive for a 36-10 lead on Hullibarger's 24-yard run.
St. Francis pulled within 36-18 as Nees scored on a four-yard run on fourth down.
But Boss scored on a 55-yard scamper, breaking tackles and weaving in to make it 43-18. Boss added a seven-yard TD run — set up by 20 yard scamper by Hullibarger — to give Bedford a 49-18 lead with 10 minutes, 29 seconds left. The Mules added another score on a 25-yard fumble return by Rudy Rivas.
The Knights missed leading rusher Lamar Carswell, who was out with the flu.
“They are a really good football team,” Hedden said. “Those turnovers really hurt us. In these type of games they determined the outcome. If Bedford plays like they did tonight they will have a good season.”
St. Francis scored the final points on a 43-yard pass play from Nees to Bonfiglio.
Bedford (2-0) has outscored its first two foes 103-25.
“This sets a statement for the rest of the year,” Boss said. “We started out with two convincing wins.”
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354, or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.