BERNE – Bluffton had nowhere to turn on Friday night, as the Tigers lost 60-7 at South Adams.
The Tigers (2-1) weren't safe running the ball, or behind the line of scrimmage, as made clear by the fact that Bluffton quarterback Lukas Hunt was sacked five times and his team combined for minus-56 rushing yards.
Bluffton wasn't safe putting the ball in the air, as the Starfires (3-0) had four interceptions, including one in the end zone and one returned for a touchdown.
And they certainly weren't in a good position when South Adams had the ball. South Adams senior quarterback James Arnold completed 13 of 18 pass attempts for 270 yards, although he did throw one interception.
And this was the best team the Starfires have faced so far, coach Grant Moser said after the game.
“Our defense played incredible, our front seven especially, pushing on the quarterback all night long,” Moser said. “And James Arnold did what James Arnold always does, make great plays in the pocket, move it around.”
One of the Starfires' few stumbles came on the first drive of the night, which ended with a fumble recovered by Bluffton's Kaine Moore around midfield. But the Tigers couldn't capitalize on that, and when they went to punt the snap sailed high, and South Adams took over at the 15-yard line. At 8:25 in the first quarter, Christian Summersett put the Starfires up 6-0 with a 2-yard carry, though the extra point was no good.
Just over three minutes later, Arnold was scanning the field for targets when tight end Nick Miller dashed to an open area in the middle, caught the ball, and then barreled down the field to complete the 47-yard touchdown play. The conversion attempt also failed, so the Starfires took a 12-0 lead.
As soon as South Adams got the ball back, Arnold once again hit Miller for a long touchdown play, this one 41 yards, and the Starfires were ahead 18-0.
The Tigers scored their lone touchdown at 11:36 in the second quarter as Hunt found Robert Malcolm in the end zone for the 10-yard touchdown.
But the Starfires once again wrestled control from Bluffton and less than 90 seconds later Arnold lofted a 21-yard pass to the end zone, where it was caught by Drew Stutzman, who had such momentum that he ran behind the scoreboard and celebrated the touchdown there.
At 7:36 in the second quarter, Arnold and Stutzman connected for another 20-yard touchdown, this time putting the Starfires ahead 32-7.