The Hilliard Davidson High School football team earned a long-awaited rematch with Pickerington Central by defeating Springfield 17-14 in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal on Nov. 9 at London.

Top-seeded Davidson improved to 11-1 and will play sixth-seeded Central in a regional final Nov. 16 at a neutral site to be determined.

The Tigers improved to 10-2 by defeating second-seeded Clayton Northmont 33-7 in a semifinal Nov. 9 at Springfield.

Central handed Davidson its lone loss, 17-14 in overtime Sept. 21.

Davidson opened a 17-7 lead against Springfield in the third quarter before holding on for the win.

“I’m very proud of the guys,” Davidson coach Brian White said. “I thought we came out and played with some mental and physical toughness and I thought that was what it was going to take tonight, some mental and physical toughness.”

Springfield’s two touchdowns resulted from two turnovers as Delian Bradley scored on a 1-yard run set up by a fumble and Tavion Smith scooped up a fumble by quarterback Carson Felicetty and raced 53 yards for a touchdown to pull Springfield within 17-14 with 11 minutes, 45 seconds remaining.

Springfield drove into Davidson territory in the closing minutes, but kicker Braeden Carey came up short on a 44-yard field goal try with 2:03 left.

The drive was hampered when Jalen Minney was ejected for a blindside hit on Davidson linebacker Evan Annis.

Annis remained down for several minutes before being helped off the field, but White said it appeared he would be fine.

“Obviously, Evan Annis is our inspirational leader, motivational leader and any kind of leader you can imagine,” White said. “He’s going to be OK. In today’s world, you have to take precautions.”

Davidson spotted Springfield a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter on Bradley’s score.

Jordan Hicks scored on a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs to give Davidson a 14-7 lead at halftime. Davidson then ran more than nine minutes off the clock to begin the second half, capping the drive with Sean Carrier’s 37-yard field goal with 2:33 remaining.

“We never thought the game was over, not with the athletes they have. And then for us to (fumble twice) is just unbelievable,” White said. “The only points they had came off turnovers.”

Springfield, which had 263 total yards, finished 9-3.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

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Team 1 2 3 4 Final SPRINGFIELD 0 7 0 7 14 HILLIARD DAVIDSON
0 14 3 0 17

S—Bradley 1 run (Carey kick)

HD—Hicks 1 run (Carrier kick)

HD—Hicks 1 run (Carrier kick)

HD—Carrier 37 FG

S—Smith 53 fumble return (Carey kick)