By TED RADICK
BLUFFTON — Call it the flexbone, call it the Wing-T, call it what you want.
Just call it effective.
Bluffton, with freshman quarterback Nate Schaadt running the show, worked the triple-option offense to near perfection Friday, rolling up 443 yards on the ground in defeating Ada 43-14 in a Northwest Conference football game.
Bluffton improved to 3-6, 2-4 NWC. Ada dropped to 2-7, 1-5.
Schaadt ran for 177 yards on 22 carries with three touchdowns and passed for another score. Tucker Neff, Bluffton’s fullback in the military academy-style offense, added 101 yards on 16 carries as the Pirates rolled behind 56 rushing attempts and 18 first downs.
“I read the defensive ends,” Schaadt said in explaining when he keeps the ball, when he pitches and when he gives to the fullback. “I read their eyes, I read their body. What I do depends on what they do.”
Schaadt and Neff combined for 23 carries and 156 yards in the first half as Bluffton built a 28-0 lead.
Schaadt scored on a 26-yard run in the first quarter, found wingback Logan Rhodes on a 26-yard scoring pass in the second quarter and added a 10-yard scoring run just before the half. Mitchell Ault blocked a punt, picked it up and ran in from 17 yards in the second quarter.
“We just keep getting better, and Nate did a great job running the offense tonight,” Bluffton coach Jeff Richards said. “It’s been a weekly growth. We try to stay positive with what we have, I mean, with this offense you’re going to have a missed read here and there.”
Bluffton is in its second year of running the double-wing set and Richards said the Pirates are still learning on the fly.
“We’re still in kind of an infancy with this offense,” Richards said. “We have a freshman quarterback and two freshmen guards. Four of our five offensive linemen are underclassmen. So, we bring a lot back.
“With our offense, we’ve been banged up a lot this year, and tonight we had some guys back who were healthy. We fixed a few things we were doing wrong. When we’re reading our option right, and they can’t adjust, it can be a hard offense to stop.”
Ada never found the key. Bluffton had six runs of 10 yards or more in the first half, and five more in the second.
“They kicked our butts up front tonight, no question about it,” Ada coach Shawn Christopher said.
Ada quarterback Phillips Coulson ran 23 times for 118 yards, including a 10-yard TD run on the first drive of the second half. Coulson was 8 of 17 for 85 yards and an interception.
“Coulson’s obviously very talented,” Richards said. “Ada has some talented kids, I just think they’ve been hit by the injury bug just like we were.”
Schaadt scored on a 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter as the Pirates kept the ball on the ground for all 26 of their second-half offensive plays.
Ada’s Zac Swaney had a 93-yard return for a touchdown after Schaadt’ last TD, and Bluffton backup QB Tyler Shutler scored on a 2-yard plunge in the final minute.
“It’s been getting better over time,” Schaadt said of running the option. “I’m getting more and more confident in my decisions. We’re young , we were struggling early and I was struggling early in making my reads. It’s been getting a lot better.”
Ada 0 0 6 8 — 14
Bluffton 6 22 0 15 — 43
BLU “” Schaadt 26 run (kick failed)
BLU — Ault 17 punt return (kick failed)
BLU — Schaadt 10 run (Shisler run)
ADA — Coulson 7 run (kick failed)
BLU — Schaadt 1 run (Pahl run)
ADA — Swaney 93 kickoff return (Coulson run)
BLU — Shutler 2 run (Koontz kick)
First Downs 10 18
Rushes-yards 33-143 56-443
Passing Yards 85 33
Comp-Att-Int 8-17-1 2-6-0
Punts-Avg. 3-23.3 1-37.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 3-39 8-87
rushing — Ada, Coulson 23-118, Hull 8-27, Blankenship 1-(-1), team 1-(-1). Bluffton Schaadt 22-177, Neff 16-101, Rhodes 5-44, Shisler 4-72, Paghl 3-20, Nassar 3-18, Shutler 2-9, Prater 1-2.
passing — Ada, Coulson 8-17-1-85. Bluffton, Schaadt 2-6-0-33.
receiving — Ada, Hull 5-53, Swaney 3-32. Bluffton, Rhodes 1-26, Ault 1-7.