Holding up a trophy for winning the Obetz Bowl didn’t necessarily erase what the Groveport Madison High School football team endured over the past year, but it undoubtedly provided a special memory for the program.
With a 28-14 victory over Hamilton Township on Aug. 30 at Fortress Obetz, the Cruisers snapped a 12-game losing streak dating to Week 9 of the 2016 season and included a winless season last fall.
“Our kids have got guts,” Cruisers coach Bryan Schoonover said. “I’m so proud of them. They’ve been through a lot in the last year and had the low (of) lows. They could have just wavered, and they didn’t do it.”
The Cruisers, who improved to 1-1, trailed 14-7 at halftime. But with 2 minutes, 13 seconds left in the third quarter, Naseem Bowers returned a punt 44 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 14.
Groveport then forced punts on Hamilton Township’s next two possessions and took over at the Rangers’ 46 with 7:59 remaining.
Five plays later, Jashaun McGraw ran 18 yards for a touchdown to give the Cruisers a 21-14 lead. Then with 3:09 left, Groveport’s Jasiyah Robinson forced a fumble that was recovered by Darrell Smoot at the Rangers’ 40.
Seven plays later, the Cruisers sealed the victory with a 1-yard touchdown run by McGraw, who also had runs of 14 and 12 yards earlier in the drive.
“The team did good,” McGraw said. “Our offensive line, blocking, everything. The defense executed very well.”
Hamilton Township, which fell to 0-2, took a 7-0 lead with 8:34 to go in the opening quarter when Drysten Crallie scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Derek Larimer. The Rangers made it 14-0 with 6:54 left before halftime on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Larimer to Corey Hise.
Groveport cut its deficit to 14-7 five plays later, however, on a 40-yard touchdown run by Jalil Underdown.
McGraw rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries and Underdown added 82 yards on 11 carries.
“They made a conscious effort to stop our passing game,” Rangers coach Mike Savino said. “They were pressing our No. 1 receivers, so they did a really good job of making us run the ball, which we’re not doing very well right now.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final GROVEPORT MADISON 0 7 7 14 28 HAMILTON TOWNSHIP
7 7 0 0 14
HT—Crallie 12 pass from Larimer (Wilhite kick)
HT—Hise 20 pass from Larimer (Wilhite kick)
GM—Underdown 40 run (Hernandez kick)
GM—Bowers 44 punt return (Hernandez kick)
GM—McGraw 18 run (Hernandez kick)
GM—McGraw 1 run (Hernandez kick)