Penalties proved costly for the Hartley High School football team in the Division III, Region 11 final against Dresden Tri-Valley on Nov. 17 at White Field in Newark.
The third-seeded Hawks, who were seeking their third state championship in a row and their sixth consecutive state semifinal berth, had 10 penalties for 115 yards in their 13-9 loss to the fifth-seeded Scotties.
Hartley, which won the Division IV state title the past two seasons, finished 11-2.
“It’s unfortunate, but (Tri-Valley) made one more play than we did tonight,” Hawks coach Brad Burchfield said. “Every loss hurts, but this one will sting for a bit. But that’s life. Our kids gave great effort and left everything they had out there on the field. Tonight, it just wasn’t enough. It’s a football lesson and a life lesson rolled in one.”
The Scotties, who improved to 12-1, scored on their first two possessions after Hartley scored its only touchdown on the game’s first possession.
Quarterback Anthony Carfagna threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Ben Dankow on the sixth play from scrimmage to cap a six-play, 77-yard drive for the Hawks, who led 6-0 after missing their extra-point attempt.
Tri-Valley then marched 66 yards in 11 plays with quarterback Andrew Newsom scoring on a 1-yard run after tailback Caleb Craig gained 54 yards on seven runs on the drive. That tied the game at 6, as the Scotties also missed their extra-point attempt.
In the second quarter, Tri-Valley took possession at the Hawks’ 48-yard line following a short punt and capped a 10-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run by Newsom to take a 13-6 lead.
“Hartley plays a state-like schedule and our schedule isn’t as difficult, but we beat the teams in front of us to get here and our goal coming in was to get off to a quick start to gain some confidence and momentum,” Tri-Valley coach Justin Buttermore said. “We were able to do that.
“From that point, we kept telling our guys to stay patient, don’t make mistakes and make them have to drive the field. We didn’t want to give up the big play. We stuck to it, and that’s the way things played out. Our kids did a nice job executing what we asked them to do.”
Hartley added a 31-yard field goal from Matteo Agriesti with 11:04 left in the game.
Elijah Carter rushed for 93 yards on 18 carries to lead the Hawks, and Carfagna completed 10 of 14 passes for 115 yards and had four carries for 29 yards. Phillip Cole had three catches for 60 yards.
“I don’t want to take anything away from (Tri-Valley) because they made a number of big stops on us, but we did have some very costly penalties,” Burchfield said. “It was a great game and we just came up short.”
With around six minutes remaining, an ineligible receiver down field penalty nullified a 24-yard touchdown pass from Carfagna to Dankow.
Hartley had one final possession after the touchdown was wiped out. The Hawks started at their own 40 and reached the Tri-Valley 20, but they came up a yard short on a fourth-and-4 run and the Scotties ran off the final 33 seconds.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final TRI-VALLEY 6 7 0 0 13 HARTLEY
6 0 0 3 9
H—Dankow 39 pass from Carfagna (kick failed)
TV—Newsom 1 run (kick failed)
TV—Newsom 4 run (Dinan kick)
H—Agriesti 31 FG