By BRUCE HEFFLINGER

Sports Writer

BLUFFTON - Two weeks ago, Bluffton lit up the scoreboard for 70 points in a win over Ada. On Friday night, Paulding limited the Pirates to just nine points in picking up a Northwest Conference road victory.

“I’m really proud of the way the defense played all night,” said Paulding coach Tyler Arend after the Panthers rolled to a 21-9 win over Bluffton. “They played with great discipline and pursued the ball well tonight.”

It marked the first NWC triumph of 2019 for Paulding, which is now 2-4 on the season and 1-2 in league play.

Jacob King scored all three touchdowns for the Panthers, hitting paydirt for the first time with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter to put Paulding on top 7-0.

Bluffton then trimmed the deficit to 7-3 on a Kyle Koontz 27-yard field goal with 21 seconds to go in the half.

“It was big for us to hold them to a field goal and have the lead at halftime,” pointed out Arend, whose defense limited the Pirates to 145 total yards less than their season average.

The Panthers quickly regained momentum after the break when King scored from two yards out just 2:18 into the second half for a 14-3 lead.

“Fortunately we got off to a great start in the second half and got a little separation,” noted Arend, whose squad finished with both more rushing and passing yards in the game than Bluffton.

It stayed that way until the Pirates tallied their lone touchdown of the night on a Nate Schaadt two-yard run with 5:18 left. But Paulding was not about to fold, putting the game away when King rambled in from three yards away with 2:59 to go to ice the contest.

“I’m really proud of the resiliency of our group,” Arend said. “Bluffton is a tough place to play and when they brought it back to a one-score game our offense responded with a five-play, 50-yard drive to answer which is what we talk about often … being able to finish games.” 

Jacob Deisler ran for 98 yards on 19 carries to spark the Paulding offense, with Fernando Garcia adding 48 yards on eight attempts. Seth Dysinger had 45 yards receiving and Caleb Manz 39 in the victory.

“The offensive line did a great job tonight staying on their tracks and creating lanes for our backs,” Arend said. “They were giving many different fronts and blitzes and we were able to get some carries consistently all night.”

Schaadt needed 23 carries to total a team-best 74 yards on the ground for Bluffton while Tucker Neff, the third leading rusher in the NWC coming in with 694 yards, was limited to 64 rushing yards.

“Whenever you are facing a triple-option offense, you must do your job and focus on your key,” Arend explained. “Big plays can happen if you get out of position and we were able to limit that tonight.” 

Cole Mabis led the Paulding defense with eight tackles, one assist and one tackle-for-loss while Garcia was in on eight tackles with one sack. Deyton Price and Riley Coil were each part of seven tackles and Hunter Kauser six, with Adrian Manz contributing four tackles and four assists. Caleb Manz had an interception for the Panthers in helping drop Bluffton to 3-3 on the season and 1-2 in the NWC.

“This was a great win for our team and gives us momentum going into back-to-back home games,” Arend concluded. “We have to be able to come out with the same intensity next week.”

The Panthers, which have now beaten Bluffton two years in a row, look to do the same to Delphos Jefferson which visits Paulding in week seven. The Pirates go on the road to face Allen East.

SUMMARY

Paulding    0 7 7 7  - 21

Bluffton      0 3 0 6 -    9 

P - King 1-run (Edwards kick)

B - Koontz 27-yard field goal

P - King 2-run (Edwards kick)

B - Schaadt 2-run (run failed)

P - King 3-run (Edwards kick)

STATISTICS

Rushing: Paulding - Jacob Deisler 19-98; Fernando Garcia 8-48; Jacob King 9-28; Payton beckman 5-(-13). Bluffton - Nate Schaadt 23-74; Tucker Neff 14-64; Tyson Shutler 5-17; Baylor Garmatter 3-2. Passing: Paulding - Payton Beckman 5-9-2, 80 yards; Jacob Desler 1-1-0, 21 yards. Bluffton - Nate Schaadt 3-8-0, 21 yards; Tyson Shutler 1-1-0, 37 yards. Receiving: Paulding - Caleb Manz 3-39; Seth Dysinger 2-45; Riley Coil 1-17. Bluffton - Baylor Garmatter 1-37; Tyson Shutler 2-20; Andrew Wehrly 1-1.