MANSFIELD -- A pair of long first-quarter touchdown runs set the tempo for a 49-22 win by the Hartley High School football team over Akron Manchester in a Division V state semifinal Nov. 30 at Arlin Field.
The Hawks advance to the state championship game Dec. 7 against Coldwater. Hartley has won 12 consecutive games since losing to Coldwater 41-16 on Sept. 6.
Hartley scored 20 first-quarter points and led 28-7 by halftime as it improved to 13-1. Manchester finished 11-3.
“We have an advantage in speed so we use it, and once we have a lead we want to grind it out,” said senior Sam Mackowiak, who had 30 carries for 220 yards and four touchdowns and has rushed for more than 2,000 yards on the season. “We’re really starting to feel it.”
The Hawks scored on the first play from scrimmage when Jacob Mercier ran for 75 yards on a double reverse to make it 6-0.
After forcing Manchester to a three-plays-and-out series, Hartley took a 12-0 lead when Alonzo Saxton ran for an 85-yard touchdown with 9:26 left in the opening quarter.
The Hawks again forced the Panthers to punt after three plays on the ensuing drive and then moved 74 yards on 11 plays, with Mackowiak running 7 yards for a score. Quarterback Jared Brandewie ran for the two-point conversion to make it 20-0 with 2:54 left in the opening quarter.
“We felt like we had to control the clock and the ball,” coach Brad Burchfield said. “Obviously the key to the game was getting the lead.”
Hartley got a 1-yard scoring run by Quri Hickman with 51 seconds left in the first half.
Manchester cut it to 28-14 with 6:34 to go in the third quarter on a 3-yard run by Mason Hayes.
On the Panthers’ next possession, they were faced with fourth-and-1 from their own 37 with 2:35 to go in the third quarter and went for it. A group of Hartley defenders that included Shawn Smith-Davis stopped Hayes for no gain.
Seven plays later, Hartley made it 35-14 on a 2-yard run by Mackowiak with 11:31 remaining in the game. He later added scoring runs of 11 and 9 yards.
Hickman contributed 92 yards on 17 carries and Mercier had 118 yards rushing.
Hayes rushed for 86 yards on 24 attempts for Manchester. The Panthers were held to 148 yards rushing and 52 yards passing.
H--Mercier 75 run (kick failed)
H--Saxton 85 run (run failed)
H--Mackowiak 7 run (Brandewie run)
AM--Stahl 12 pass from Parks (Eidom kick)
H--Hickman 1 run (Saxton run)
AM--Hayes 3 run (Eidom kick)
H--Mackowiak 2 run (Barringer kick)
H--Mackowiak 11 run (Barringer kick)
H--Mackowiak 9 run (Barringer kick)
AM--Beavers 19 run (Parks run)