TIFFIN — The Olentangy and Toledo Whitmer high school football teams played another postseason nail-biter at Frost-Kalnow Stadium on Nov. 10, and this one went to the Panthers.
Jasean Rader caught two touchdown passes from Riley Keller in the final 3 minutes, 2 seconds of a Division I, Region 2 semifinal — the last from 10 yards with 10 seconds left — to give top-seeded Whitmer a 32-29 victory over the fifth-seeded Braves.
“We were able to get to the outside really well. We didn’t expect that coming into the game,” said Rader, who caught four passes for 37 yards. “Once we got the ball rolling, we fed off our defense and they fed off us.”
Olentangy, which defeated Whitmer 24-21 on the same field in a regional semifinal two years ago when Jacob Bell made a 52-yard field goal as time expired, finished 8-4.
Whitmer improved to 12-0 and will play second-seeded Olentangy Liberty in the regional final Nov. 17 at a neutral site to be determined.
Rader’s first touchdown catch was from 7 yards and gave Whitmer a 24-23 lead, its first advantage since 3-0 in the first quarter.
Olentangy then made a huge play of its own to take the lead on its next possession. On fourth-and-1 at the Whitmer 47, quarterback Riley Bruening popped a quick pass over the middle to tight end Ian Drummond, who quickly got behind a defense that was stacked on the line appearing to expect a running play and rumbled to the end zone for a 29-24 lead with 52 seconds left.
“I was almost afraid we scored too quick. We had a nice play and saved it until the perfect time,” Braves coach Mark Solis said. “We just couldn’t get that crucial stop to win the game. We had chances to make stops and we missed tackles. But at the end of the day, I’m proud of our kids. We fought to the bitter end.”
Bruening had touchdown runs of 1 and 7 yards in the second quarter to give Olentangy a 17-10 halftime lead.
Josh Petrone added field goals of 36, 33 and 34 yards.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final OLENTANGY 3 14 3 9 29 TOLEDO WHITMER
3 7 7 15 32
TW—Filby 38 FG
O—Petrone 36 FG
O—Bruening 1 run (Petrone kick)
O—Bruening 7 run (Petrone kick)
TW—Stickels 7 run (Filby kick)
TW—Mappe 57 pass from Keller (Filby kick)
O—Petrone 33 FG
O—Petrone 34 FG
TW—Rader 7 pass from Keller (Filby kick)
O—Drummond 47 pass from Bruening (run failed)
TW—Rader 10 pass from Keller (Keller run)