SPENCERVILLE — The Spencerville Bearcats put on a defensive clinic in the Region 24 quarterfinals as they hosted the Mechanicsburg Indians on Friday night.

They held the Indians to zero completions throughout the game, and it wasn’t until nearly midway through the fourth quarter that Mechanicsburg managed their first and only first down of the game.

After the Bearcats led 13-0 at halftime, senior Chris Picker scored three rushing touchdowns in the second half to propel the Bearcats to a 34-0 win.

“Our assistant coaches did a great job with the game plan and preparing the guys,” Spencerville head coach Chris Sommers said afterwards. “Our guys just came out and executed today; we knew that Mechanicsburg was going to keep coming and coming. We said that this is a team and a school that has a long tradition. They have a lot of pride and they’re a hard-nosed bunch. We needed to be physical and tonight and we were.”

The scoring got started right away for the Bearcats. Their first drive began at the Indians’ 37 and facing a 3rd-and-5, junior quarterback Kale Lee tossed the ball outside to Picker, who busted down the sideline for a 21-yard gain. Just three plays later, Picker burst through the line and into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown run to put Spencerville up 7-0.

The Indians had six possessions in the first half; five of them ended in 3-and-outs. The only other drive for them consisted of four plays. As time wound down in the first quarter, in a drive that began at their own 20, on 3rd-and-1, they lined up in a wildcat formation and junior running back Joey Mascardri was stuffed up the middle. Facing 4th-and-1, the Indians decided to let it ride. They lined up in the same formation, tried the same play and suffered the same result as the play was blown up by Spencerville senior Jacob Settlemire.

It resulted in another short field for the Bearcats and they took advantage of it. As the game advanced into the second quarter, they managed a 7-play drive that was capped off with a 4-yard touchdown run from sophomore Joel Lotz. The extra point was blocked and the Bearcats’ lead sat at 13-0; it held as the game proceeded to the half.

In the second half, the Indians had five possessions, four of which resulted in 3-and-outs. An inability to keep their offense on the field proved costly and the primary benefactor was a persistent Bearcat running game, spearheaded by Picker.

Spencerville’s second drive of the half consisted of 10 plays, which included a gutsy 4th-down conversion from their own 37, where Picker gashed the Indians for 10 yards right up the middle. A few plays later, Picker broke through the middle of the line again and took it 41 yards to the house; with a successful 2-point conversion, the Bearcats’ lead increased to 21-0 with just over five minutes left in the third quarter.

As the teams exchanged possessions and the fourth quarter got underway, Picker bounced off would-be Indian tacklers en route for a 25-yard touchdown run that put Spencerville up 27-0.

If the nail hadn’t been put into the coffin, it was on Spencerville’s next drive. It took only one play before Picker was seen streaking down the sideline and into the end zone on a 68-yard run that was merely icing on the cake.

“Chris is always the first to give credit to other people who are around him,” Coach Sommers said. “Chris is the humblest guy that I’ve been around.”

The win earns the Bearcats a trip to the Division VI, Region 24 semifinals where they’ll face off against the No. 2-seeded Marion Local Flyers next week at a site to be determined.