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Gophers rout Bulldogs 47-13

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ON TO SCORE: Clinton Prairie's Blake Richardson broke away from this last Clinton Central defender to complete a 20-yard touchdown catch from Kade Osborn in the second quarter of Prairie's 47-13 win on Friday.
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PULLING AWAY: Clinton Prairie quarterback Kade Osborn, attempting to break away from a tackle, ran for 152 yards and three touchdowns and completed 16-21 passes for 220 yards and three more touchdowns against Clinton Central on Friday night.
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NO LET DOWN: Clinton Prairie head coach Raymond Jones talked to his squad about not having a letdown after Friday's 47-13 road win over Clinton Central. The Gophers lost to Attica, 50-14, last week after starting the season with a 59-12 win at Park Tudor.

BY ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

Clinton Prairie scored touchdowns on 7 of its 8 offensive drives as a depleted Clinton Central defense had no answers for the visiting Gophers’ assault on Friday night in a 47-13 Prairie win.

The night started out brighter for the Bulldogs on the first series as Anthony Ransford broke off a 48-yard touchdown run on the game’s fifth play from scrimmage and JT Holton added the extra point for a 7-0 Central lead less than 3 minutes into the game. As quarterback, Holton scrambled for a 6 yard gain on the drive. It would be his only significant offensive stat as he went down on Prairie’s first drive, adding to Central’s mounting injury list. He attempted to run on the sideline before his leg collapsed on him, and he returned to the sideline after halftime in street clothes with his right knee wrapped.

On Prairie’s first drive, the Gophers displayed the balance that would be on display throughout the night. Quarterback Kade Osborn completed all 12 of his passes in the first half (16-21 for game) and had 220 yards through the air, adding 154 yards on the ground with the Bulldogs never finding an answer to quick draws by Osborn.

He scored off one of them for a 16-yard touchdown with 6:29 left in the first quarter cutting the Bulldog lead to 7-6 after a nine-play drive. The Gophers went for two after a Central penalty but were stopped at the goal line.

Owen Smith started out his first drive as the Bulldogs’ quarterback strong with a 15-yard run off a fake handoff. On 4th and 4 from the Prairie 26, he lofted a perfect pass to the right side of the end zone that Caleb Heide couldn’t hold onto giving the ball back to the Gophers.

Osborn capped a 12-play drive with a 17-yard TD pass to Kaleb Peters on a slant early in the second quarter with Coltyn Vandegriff adding the extra point for a 13-7 lead. After a pass interference call allowed Central to advance to Prairie’s 34, the Gophers recovered a fumble on the next play to take over once again. Five plays later Osborn hooked up with Blake Richardson for a 20-yard TD pass with 7:29 left in the half with another Vandegriff kick making it 20-7.

After gaining three first downs, the Bulldogs fumbled on a handoff (a problem for them during the night) and the Gophers took advantage once again with 3:35 to play in the half. Again, they converted going 68 yards in seven plays, with Osborn punching it in from the 1 on a sneak with 25 seconds left in the half. Vandegriff missed the kick after a penalty making it 26-7 going into halftime.

The Gophers began to drive once again to start the second half before Osborn made one of his few mistakes in the game, with Central’s Heide intercepting a pass and returning it 15 yards to the Central 29. Ransford was stopped on 4th and 2, however, to return the ball to the Gophers in short order.

Eight plays later Jacob Fullerton punched it in from 2 yards out for a 33-7 Gopher lead with 3:30 left in the third after the Vandegriff kick. A play earlier Fullerton leaped over two Central defenders to wrestle away a 23-yard completion from Osborn.

Fullerton (who had a couple of long returns and runs called back by penalties in the first half) capped an impressive run in the game for him on Central’s next drive intercepting a Smith pass with 40 seconds left in the quarter to give Prairie the ball at its own 25. Osborn finished a 75-yard, eight-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown run on a sweep to the left to increase the Gopher lead to 40-7 after the kick with 9:44 to play.

Ransford scored on a 62-yard run for Central to make it 40-13 on the Bulldogs’ next possession, with the running back stopped short on a two-point conversion. Central then recovered an onside kick, but Prairie’s Drew Blacker picked off a Smith throw seven plays later to end the Bulldog run. Ransford had another long 34-yard run called back on a holding penalty before the interception.

With 4:08 to play, Osborn capped the night’s scoring with a 10-yard TD pass to Vandegriff (who also made the PAT) for the final 47-13 score.

Osborn was the main star of the night for the Gophers with three rushing touchdowns and three through the air to go with his 372 total yards against one interception, but he had plenty of help. Jacob Baker ran for 85 yards on 17 carries, with Fullerton adding 57 on five including his touchdown.

Vandegriff led the Gophers in receiving with 98 yards on eight catches with a TD, adding 5 of 6 extra points. Fullerton had 65 yards on five receptions, with Peters hauling in two for 37 yards with a touchdown and Richardson one for 20 yards and a score.

Blacker unofficially led Prairie with eight tackles (five solo) adding a fumble recovery and an interception, while Baker had seven tackles (two solo) and 1 ½ sacks.

For Central, Ransford continued to pile up the rushing yards with 164 (most coming on three long runs) on 15 carries with two touchdowns. Ross Cripe had 37 on six carries, with Smith getting 26 on four. Smith was 4-10 for 44 yards with two interceptions passing. Heide led the Bulldogs with three receptions for 29 yards.

Prairie improved to 2-1 (1-0 Hoosier Heartland Conference) with the win, while Central fell to 1-2 (0-2).