Quarterback Adam Wallace accounted for 330 yards and had a hand in four touchdowns to lead the Creston Norwayne High School football team over Johnstown-Monroe 59-28 in a Division IV state semifinal Saturday, Nov. 26, at New Philadelphia.
Norwayne (13-1) advanced to play top-ranked Kenton (14-0) for the state championship at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Kenton beat Clarksville Clinton-Massie 36-6 in the other semifinal.
“They did a good job of mixing things up with the running and passing,” Johnstown coach Mike Carter said. “Their quarterback is a good player, but we didn’t make tackles on him when we had a chance.”
Senior running back Ross Franklin rushed for 320 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries for Johnstown. He fell one short of the state record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 49; Brookhaven’s Maurice Hall had 50 in 2000. Franklin finished with 3,416 yards rushing, 23 behind the record of 3,439 set by Bedford Chanel’s Tony Franklin in 2001.
The Bobcats scored every time they had the ball, gaining 246 yards rushing and 261 passing. The Johnnies had 473 total yards, 450 on the ground.
“We knew we had to make some stops on defense and we weren’t able to do that,” Carter said. “But the kids kept playing hard for four quarters and that shows their character.”
Norwayne led 24-21 at halftime and opened the second half with a four-play, 68-yard drive. Jon Zimmerly scored the second of his four touchdowns on an 11-yard run with 10 minutes, 57 seconds left in the third quarter for a 31-21 edge.
The Johnnies (13-1) went 11 plays to the Norwayne 2-yard line before Franklin was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-2 with 5:52 left in the third.
“They are a very physical team and we were able to at least hold our own in the trenches,” Norwayne coach Jon Harbour said. “We knew we were doing well on offense and we knew that if we were to make a couple of stops we would be OK.”
After that stop, Norwayne scored the next 28 points to build a 59-21 lead.
Franklin had a 3-yard scoring run with 3:30 to play. He also had a 35-yard touchdown run for the game’s first score.
Wallace finished 13-for-20 passing for 261 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for 69 yards and two scores. Jon Zimmerly had 121 yards on 12 carries and Tyler Zimmerly added 57 yards on eight attempts.
Jon Maibach caught seven passes for 180 yards with a 66-yard touchdown for Norwayne. Brandon Berger had four catches for 55 yards and a 15-yard touchdown.
Johnstown quarterback Matt Smith ran for 116 yards on six carries with touchdowns of 61 and 3 yards. He left with 10 minutes remaining in the game after being sacked.
JOHNSTOWN 7 14 0 7 -- 28
NORWAYNE 7 17 21 14 -- 59
J--Franklin 35 run (C. Benton kick)
N--J. Zimmerly 12 run (Gerber kick)
N--Wallace 34 run (Gerber kick)
J--Smith 61 run (Gerber kick)
N--Gerber 27 FG
J--Smith 3 run (C. Benton kick)
N--Berger 15 pass from Wallace (Gerber kick)
N--J. Zimmerly 11 run (Gerber kick)
N--Maibach 66 pass from Wallace (Gerber kick)
N--Wallace 6 run (Gerber kick)
N--J. Zimmerly 56 run (Gerber kick)
N--J. Zimmerly 1 run (Gerber kick)
J--Franklin 3 run (C. Benton kick)