Hartley ran 80 offensive plays from scrimmage and grinded out a 14-7 win over Liberty Union last night in a Division V regional semifinal at Bloom-Carroll.
Sam Mackowiak ran for 121 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries for the top-seeded Hawks, who will play third-seeded Wheelersburg (11-1) on Saturday in a regional final at a site to be determined.
Hartley (11-1) limited Liberty Union (9-3) to 32 offensive plays and 116 total yards. The Hawks closed out the game with a 19-play, 80-yard drive that chewed up the final 8 minutes, 29 seconds.
“In the second half, I thought we controlled the game. We only scored seven points, but we controlled the football game,” Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said. “I thought we just had key conversions on third and fourth down that were just gargantuan. I’m really proud. You find a way to win and I think that’s what it’s kind of all about at this point.”
The Hawks, who were 3 of 6 on fourth-down conversions, including 3 of 3 in the second half, led 7-0 at halftime.
Jared Brandewie hit Alonzo Saxton, a Duke commitment, with a 9-yard scoring pass with 45 seconds left in the second quarter to put the Hawks in front.
Mackowiak’s 9-yard touchdown run gave Hartley a 14-0 advantage at the 3:58 mark of the third quarter.
However, Liberty Union quarterback Austin Vannatta hit Jacob Brasso coming out of the backfield with what ended up being a 46-yard touchdown pass with 3:07 left in the third quarter.
The Hawks threatened on their ensuing drive, but turned the ball over on a Mackowiak fumble at the Liberty Union 17-yard line early in the fourth quarter.
The Lions, Division V state semifinalists a year ago, had to punt on their next possession, and Adam Snyder boomed a 63-yard kick. The Hawks, who reached the Division IV state semifinals last season, took over on their 15-yard line and ran out the clock.
“I could not be prouder of these guys,” Liberty Union coach Dan Johnson said. “I think they were physically outmatched. We’re a bunch of little small guys that showed their toughness tonight.”