Considering it was the 135th time they have played, there have likely been many classic games in the rivalry's history between Bellevue and Dayton. This year's Battle for the Paddle, however, might only be remembered later for its lopsided score as the Tigers walloped the Greendevils, 61-0.
It was a perfect night for football and the crowd was sizable at Bellevue's stadium with fans packed into the steep bleachers built along the hillside. The dueling cheerleader squads made for a weird cacophony of football sounds and team spirit, and the nearby highway added a kind of gray noise layer to it all. Even with the score out of hand, it was a pleasant evening to hang out in the stands from up high and watch the action meander around the field.
For Bellevue it was an important game for their potential playoff seeding and for Dayton, they were simply looking for a better showing than the previous week when they lost 62-0 to Beechwood. They improved on that margin by a single point.
At first, it didn't look all bad for the Devils as the Tigers fumbled a punt on the team's first possession. Dayton took over on the 18 yard line, but failed on fourth down and turned it back around. They still hung in there early on and got the ball back inside their own ten, but then they caught a bad case of fumble-itis, coughing it up four times in the first quarter, the first of which was returned for an easy defensive touchdown by Cameron Chase.
Every time Dayton got something going, even remotely, they promptly fumbled it back to Bellevue. When Zach Barrett came untouched around the edge on a blitz and blindsided Dayton quarterback Preston Nickel, causing him to fumble, Alec Hazerus scooped up the ball and became the all-time Kentucky leader in fumble recoveries with 17 in his career.