For the second consecutive season, the Gahanna Lincoln High School football team denied Groveport a playoff berth.

For the second consecutive season, the Gahanna Lincoln High School football team denied Groveport a playoff berth.

Gahanna's Tyler Grassman intercepted a Jalen Bell pass in the end zone as time expired sealing the 24-21 victory and effectively ending any shot the host Cruisers had at advancing to the Division I playoffs.

With its third consecutive win, Gahanna finished 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Ohio Division, and the Cruisers ended the season to 6-4 and 3-4.

The victory also gave third-year coach John Snoad his first winning record in OCC-Ohio play. The Lions had finished 4-6 in each of Snoad's first two years.

"This win means everything, for this group of seniors, finishing 4-3 in the conference, winning three straight. No one is ever happy about winning and losing half of their games but right now this was a huge step for us," Snoad said. "The losing is over and these kids went out in style."

The key to the game was the play of Gahanna's defense, which held Groveport to only 1 total yard at the half and only allowed 57 yards rushing on 33 carries for the game.

The Lions also intercepted Groveport twice.

The Gahanna defense allowed 11.6 points a game during the three-game winning streak.

Gahanna defensive ends Mitchell Rowell and Kameryn Carter provided the Lions' defense with pressure as the two combined for three sacks.

"We had a good game as a whole on defense," senior Kameryn Carter said. "Coach Wilcox really prepared us for everything we had to do. He let me come off the edge a lot and I made a big play."

Carter added the victory is a big boost to the program.

"It's great. It's the best record we've had in three years and the second year in a row we stopped Groveport from going to the playoffs," he said. "And it means we've set it up for the rest of the younger guys to come out and play well next year."

Offensively, Gahanna received another big game from junior Aaron Roberson, who rushed for 108 yards on 16 carries.

Roberson's first score was a 29-yard screen pass from Tanner Zwelling in the first quarter to give the Lions a 14-0 lead. His second came on a 30-yard run in the third quarter that pushed the lead to 21-7.

Julian Lowe scored the first touchdown of the game when he returned a Groveport punt 35 yards for a touchdown.

Bell, who played for an injured Shane Denny, passed for 128 yards on seven completions including a 72-yard touchdown pass to Myran Hill.

GAHANNA LINCOLN 7 7 10 0 -- 24


GL--Lowe 35 punt return (Grassman kick)

GL--Roberson 29 pass from Zwelling (Grassman kick)

GM--Bell 2 run (Kalb kick)

GL--Roberson 30 run (Grassman kick)

GL--Grassman 39 FG

GM--Hill 72 pass from Bell (Kalb kick)

GM-- Peak 38 fumble return (Kalb kick)