“There’s no perfect defense in the world, so we’re going to take what you give us,” Forrest said. “It’s as simple as that.”
While Conley got the protection he needed from the offensive line, Hurst got the downfield blocks he needed to score.
“We talk about it every day that the difference between first downs and touchdowns is wide receiver blocking,” Forrest said.
When the defensive look favored the speedy Bebout on down-field passes, Conley threw his direction. Bebout made a 58-yard catch to get the Indians out of bad field position to set up one score. He also got deep for a 51-yard touchdown for a 42-7 lead halfway through the third quarter.
Conley completed 9 of 14 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns. The running game did its part. Propst led that effort with 81 yards on six carries and touchdowns of 22 and 35 yards. Chandler’s two-yard run started the scoring.
Paint Valley averaged 47.8 points in its six victories behind a strong running game. But Mechanicsburg’s defense clogged running lanes. That, and because the Bearcats were falling behind, forced them to throw much more than usual. Bebout made the big defensive play with a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown at the end of the third quarter.
“Defensively the kids keep playing hard and playing physical, and we’re not going to beat ourselves on that side of the ball,” Forrest said.
Third-seeded Frankfort Adena, Forrest said, will bring a big, physical team with good quarterback play and a good running game to Mechanicsburg for a 7 p.m. kickoff in Saturday night’s semifinal. Adena defeated Minster 28-0 Saturday.
The Indians beat No. 8-ranked Adena 32-7 in the first round last year on their way to the region title. Adena led that game 7-6 at halftime. Adena defeated Paint Valley 50-28 to start this season.
The other semifinal pits top-ranked and top-seeded Coldwater and 10th-ranked and fourth-seeded West Jefferson.