The Hilliard Davidson High School football team earned a return trip to a Division I regional final with a 29-14 win over Olentangy on Nov. 10 at Upper Arlington.
The seventh-seeded Wildcats improved to 10-2 and will play Pickerington North in the Region 3 final Nov. 17. The fourth-seeded Panthers defeated top-seeded Hilliard Darby 24-14 on Nov. 10.
The third-seeded Braves finished 10-2. Olentangy was making its first postseason appearance since 2008, when it lost to Sylvania Southview 28-14 in a Division II first-round game.
The Wildcats are making their fifth consecutive regional final appearance. They lost last season’s Region 3 final 24-0 to Pickerington Central.
Davidson snapped a 7-all tie on E.J. Jennings’ 7-yard touchdown run with 7 minutes, 16 seconds remaining.
The Wildcats pushed their lead to 22-7 only 58 seconds later, when Nick Stull recovered a Ramal Iverson fumble and scored on a 35-yard return. Alex Backenstoe ran in the two-point conversion.
The Braves responded quickly as Andrew Horstman connected with Victor Elmurr for a 63-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 22-14 with 5:59 remaining.
Davidson, however, sealed the win when Jennings scored on a 22-yard run with 1:41 left.
Jennings finished with 113 yards on 28 carries. Davidson rushed for 321 yards on 53 carries.
“I’m not surprised with the effort our kids play with,” Davidson coach Brian White said. “Our kids did a great job this week in practice. I told the kids this was one of the best weeks of practice we’ve ever had. They did a great job of focusing and coming in in a businessman-like fashion. We were fortunate that it carried over to tonight. I’m really proud of the effort the kids gave and to take the opportunity that was given to them tonight to earn a trip to the regional final again, which is pretty special.”
Phillipie Motley helped set up the first half’s lone score, as he blocked Josh Baumbach’s 23-yard field-goal attempt and then scored three plays later on a 90-yard reverse with 1:34 remaining in the first quarter.
The Braves totaled 74 yards in the first half and twice moved the ball into Davidson territory, but were held scoreless.
The Braves tied the game at 7 on their first possession of the second half when Horstman scored on a 3-yard run.
Horstman completed eight of 19 passes for 123 yards.
“I have to give a lot of credit to our guys for everything they did,” Olentangy coach Ed Terwilliger said. “I like the way we didn’t quit. We gave them that extra score when we dropped the football on the ground. That was tough because not only do you have to score again, but then you have to stop them.”
HD -- Motley 90 run (Jack Johns kick)
O -- Horstman 3 run (Baumbach kick)
HD -- Jennings 7 run (Jack Johns kick)
HD -- Stull 35 fumble return (Backenstoe run)
O -- Elmurr 63 pass from Horstman (Baumbach kick)
HD -- Jennings 22 run (Jack Johns kick)