ZANESVILLE -- Ross Franklin ran over and past defenders all night for the Johnstown-Monroe High School football team, but his biggest play came when he stayed put.
The senior subbed in for the Johnnies at defensive back and did not bite on a halfback-pass play with two minutes remaining as Johnstown held on to beat Coshocton 27-24 in the Division IV, Region 15 final Saturday, Nov. 19, at Zanesville.
The Johnnies (13-0) advanced to play in a state semifinal Nov. 26 against Creston Norwayne (12-1), which defeated Girard 26-24 on Nov. 19.
On third down from the Johnstown 20-yard line, Coshocton quarterback Brody Philabaum handed off to halfback Brandon Walker, who wanted to pass, but Franklin stayed at home. That forced Walker to run and he was taken down by defensive lineman Joey Dismuke for a 10-yard loss.
That forced a 47-yard field-goal attempt by Evan Johnson, whose kick fell short and wide left.
“Coaches have taught us about discipline all year and that play was all about discipline,” said Franklin, who rushed for 269 yards and four touchdowns on 38 carries. “I stayed at home and that opened things up for Joey to get to the ball carrier.”
“I didn’t know what happened,” said Dismuke, caught up in the moment of the Johnnies’ first regional championship. “I think he was going to pass it and I just saw him run. I just went after the guy with the ball.”
Johnstown dominated the first half as Franklin rushed for 173 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns, but only led 20-10.
Coshocton (10-3) dominated the second half by scoring 14 points in the third quarter and keeping the Johnstown offense off the field. The Johnnies had the ball for only 2:30 in the third.
The Redskins scored on a 4-yard run by Brody Bresciani with 4:16 left in the third and Brock Bolden recovered the ensuing onside kick at the Johnnies’ 49 to put Coshocton back in business. With 25 seconds left in the quarter, Philabaum hit Dylan Ogle for a 3-yard score to put his team ahead 24-21.
Johnstown followed with a 14-play, 71-yard drive that took 6:57 off the clock. The Johnnies had two fourth-down conversions on the drive, including a fourth-and-2 from the Coshocton 22 in which Franklin burst through the line for the game-winning score.
“We told the kids at halftime that there was going to be adversity and we faced that,” Johnstown coach Mike Carter said. “We were able to reach way down and make the plays when we needed them most.”
Johnstown finished with 322 yards, all coming on the ground on 58 carries. Coshocton had 346 total yards, 284 rushing.
Bresciani ran for 136 yards on 14 carries and Walker added 66 on 11 attempts. Ogle had 45 yards rushing with a touchdown and three catches for 45 yards and a score.
COSHOCTON 0 10 14 0 -- 24
JOHNSTOWN 6 14 0 7 -- 27
J--Franklin 38 run (kick failed)
J--Franklin 7 run (run failed)
C--Ogle 49 run (Philabaum kick)
J--Franklin 9 run (Smith run)
C--Johnson FG 34
C--Bresciani 4 run (Philabaum kick)
C--Ogle 3 pass from Philabaum (Philabaum kick)
J--Franklin 22 run (C. Benton kick)