ST. JOSEPH Meeting for the second year in a row on a Thursday evening and in Missouri Western State University's Spratt Stadium, St. Joseph's Bishop LeBlond Golden Eagles strafed the Chillicothe Hornets with five aerial strikes for touchdowns to score a 34-14 Midland Empire Conference high school football victory Thursday night.
BLHS junior quarterback Matthew McCullough hit Tyler Thrasher for scores of 56, 42, and 29 yards in the second and third periods and Patrick Dillon for 68- and 11-yards scores in the first and fourth quarters, respectively.
The lefthanded Golden Eagles signalcaller finished the night eight of 14 through the air for 227 yards. With a couple of long second-half runs, Bishop LeBlond star running back Austin Dawkins, who left the game briefly after suffering a minor injury on his only punt of the night, wound up with 191 rushing yards on 22 carries. He was "limited" to 90 yards on 15 carries through three quarters before breaking away for 45- and 30-yards jaunts in the fourth with his team up three scores.
Finally getting its running game working some against the less-physically-imposing BLHS defense, Chillicothe actually out-gained the winner 250-245 on the ground, but connected only three times on 15 passes for a mere 36 yards.
Each team fumbled the ball away only once and threw one interception.
The beaten Hornets scored on D.J. Gannan's 14-yards run in the third quarter and Tyler Long's 3-yards run in the fourth. Gannan was on his way to his first triple-digits game of the season on the ground before suffering a recurrence of a season-long nagging injury late in the third quarter. He finished with 94 rushing yards on 16 carries.
Chillicothe, which entered averaging less than 115 yards on the ground a game in 2012, had three ballcarriers with 68 or more yards on this night, but to no avail because of its severe troubles defending the long pass.
The outcome in the middle game of the teams' 9-game 2012 regular season left Chillicothe owning a 1-4 overall mark and 1-2 MEC ledger with former league cellar-dweller Bishop LeBlond the exact opposite – 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the loop.
With an extra day to prepare because of the Thursday outing, Chillicothe heads on to meet St. Joseph: Lafayette – also on the road – a week from tonight. Emerging Bishop LeBlond has a trip to Smithville next Friday.