TUTTLE — Tuttle asserted its identity at the right time.
The Tigers produced yardage on the ground in chunks in upending previously unbeaten Blanchard 56-34 on Friday before an estimated 5,000 fans at Bill Hinkle Stadium. At one point, Tuttle scored 35 unanswered points.
Tuttle, ranked 10th in Class 3A, ran for 299 yards on 39 carries to improve to 9-1 overall and 5-1 in District 3A-1. Fourth-ranked Blanchard fell to 8-1 and 5-1.
“We're Tuttle,” Tigers coach Philip Koons said. “We play hard. We're not going to give up after (losing) one game. We live to run the ball and get physical.”
Tuttle moved into the second spot in the district standings to earn a home playoff game in the first round next week. Blanchard will be in the third slot.
“It's nice to stay home and win nine games,” Koons said. “Our district is tough. With Blanchard, Jones and us, that's three pretty good teams.”
Junior Jesse Gregory cranked out 229 yards with four touchdowns on 20 carries behind a road-grading offensive line for Tuttle. The line of Austin Link, Conner Polston, Austin Porter, Keifer Venable and Nathan Voreis cleared swathes for the Tuttle running game.
“Those guys don't play defense,” Koons said of his offensive front. “We have three or four running backs that run hard. We have some receivers that can make plays. We got a pretty good punch on offense. Our defense showed up.”
Blanchard led 28-14 as Brock Lamle hit Tanner Foster for a 53-yard touchdown pass with 2:57 showing in the first half. Tuttle answered with two touchdown strikes from Cooper Koons to Seth Odam in the final 1:54 of the half, covering 41 and 28 yards.
Then Gregory and his line went to work. Gregory bolted to the corner of the end zone for a 26-yard score that provided Tuttle the go-ahead points with 6:15 left in the third quarter. Gregory took off on two more scoring runs. His 28-yarder gave Tuttle a 49-28 advantage at the 7:05 mark of the fourth. Tanner Brannon added a 21-yard touchdown run with 1:25 left.
Meanwhile, Tuttle held Blanchard without a first down in the second half until six minutes remained in the game. Tuttle picked off three Lamle passes in the second half. Lamle threw for 262 yards and touchdowns and ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, but those came in the first half.
“These guys do a great job with the spread offense,” Koons said of Blanchard. “Their quarterback ran all over us the first half.”
Tuttle finished up doing more of the running on the night.