The Zanesville High School football team is known for its strong passing attack, but the Blue Devils’ running game and defense played the major roles in a 36-0 win over Worthington Kilbourne in a Division II, Region 5 semifinal Nov. 15 at Gahanna.
“They were the better team and proved that our defense may not be the best in the state and they took advantage of it,” said Kilbourne linebacker Taylor Wilson. “We tried to throw in a lot of wrinkles to confuse (their offense), but they found the holes and the weaknesses and they kept going at us. They did what they needed to do.”
Zanesville improved to 12-0 and will play New Albany in a regional final on Nov. 22 at a site to be determined.
Kilbourne, which finished 10-2, battled all game to slow a potent offense that was averaging 51.4 points.
It worked in the first half, as Zanesville led 16-0 at the break on three field goals by Logan Graham (31, 20 and 32 yards) and a 1-yard touchdown run from Jamal Gladden.
The Wolves’ triple-option offense never got untracked, as Zanesville’s defense posted its fourth consecutive shutout.
Kilbourne was limited to 39 yards rushing on 30 carries and largely abandoned its ground attack after Zanesville took a 22-0 lead on its first possession of the second half.
Kilbourne quarterback Griffin Dahn threw three of his five interceptions in the second half, including one that Trey Scoles returned 30 yards for a score to make it 29-0 on the third quarter’s final play.
“They have a good balance on offense and their defense is very good and maybe overlooked,” Kilbourne coach Vince Trombetti said. “People say they’re No. 1 in the state and I can certainly see why.”
Gladden rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries for Zanesville. Quarterback Thomas Wibbeler was 11-for-22 passing for 181 yards, and his top targets were Granger Long (four receptions, 72 yards) and T.J. McFarland (three catches, 53 yards).
Justin Stoner had 24 yards on eight carries to lead the Wolves, who were outgained 335-128 in total yards. Dahn was 6-for-20 passing for 89 yards.
Z – Graham 31 FG
Z – Graham 20 FG
Z – Gladden 1 run (Graham kick)
Z – Graham 32 FG
Z – Stanford 21 pass from Wibbeler (kick blocked)
Z – Scoles 30 interception return (Graham kick)
Z – Gladden 4 run (Graham kick)