In an emotional game between the top two teams in the City Series, Ellet handed host Buchtel its first conference loss, 23-2.
The Orangemen (7-0, 3-0) played a good chunk of the second half without head coach Joe Yost.
Yost was forced to leave when his older brother, linebackers coach Gary Yost, collapsed on the sideline and was taken to an area hospital.
Gary Yost was released from the hospital and is reported to be in good condition.
At the time of their coach leaving, the Orangemen had a 23-point lead thanks to a strong first half led by big plays on offense and defensive pressure from the front seven.
“I thought we executed very well,” Ellet offensive coordinator Chuck Shuman said. “Our line did an outstanding job controlling the line of scrimmage. Any time you’re playing an explosive team like Buchtel, as long as you’ve got the ball that’s your best defense sometimes. And then our defense rose to the occasion and really hassled the quarterback.”
The Orangemen scored on each of their first three drives, all set up by a big play.
Senior running back Matt Geer took a screen pass from quarterback Jake Fisher 26 yards on the second play of the game to quickly enter Buchtel (3-4, 3-1) territory.
Geer led the Orangemen in total yards, gaining 23 on the ground and 56 through the air.
Fisher capped the scoring drive seven plays later with a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
Ellet’s second drive took only one play to get on the Buchtel side of the field, starting with a 19-yard pass to Jake Williams.
Fisher again capped the drive with a QB sneak for a touchdown.
Two drives later, Geer took another screen pass 20 yards down to the Griffins’ 9-yard line before scoring on a 3-yard run.
“That was good for us,” Shuman said. “Any time you get to play in a big game like this, if you can get the other team on their heels a little bit, you can take advantage of it later.”
On the play before Geer’s touchdown run, Griffins junior safety Deric Rucker intercepted a Fisher pass on the goal line and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown that would have closed their deficit to 16-7. However, the Ellet receiver appeared to trip while running his route, and Rucker was called for pass interference.
Later in the game, Griffins quarterback Chris Davis broke a run of more than 50 yards that would have resulted in a touchdown, but it was called back for a clipping penalty away from the ball.
“I definitely didn’t see what they saw,” Buchtel coach Ricky Powers said. “This could be the championship game. That takes the air out of us. It’s not like we didn’t have opportunities to score down in the red zone that we blew. I didn’t necessarily agree with the calls. I wanted them to explain them to me and they couldn’t, but it is what it is.”
The Buchtel offense had trouble getting going all game, with Evans consistently finding himself pressured against four- and five-man rushes. He completed 10-of-28 passes for 65 yards.
“Ellet came to play in that first half. We didn’t,” Powers said. “Guys have got to know who they’re blocking. They were only sending five. It was five-on-five. Those guys were just playing faster than we were.”