Jack Beeler of the Canal Winchester High School football team put both arms around the coveted Ohio and Erie Canal Championship Cup on Oct. 5 and didn’t want to let go.
The junior quarterback and his teammates earned the trophy by beating visiting Groveport 14-7 in an OCC-Capital Division contest.
“For our (offensive) line to go out there and push the way they did and for (running back) Stephan Byrd to run the way he did, it was just a great night for our offense to keep going, even though we had some bad drives,” Beeler said.
Beeler completed eight of 13 passes for 132 yards and scored on a 3-yard run in the second quarter that tied the game at 7. The drive went 88 yards in 15 plays.
Byrd rushed for 74 yards on 21 carries, and Tyler Toledo added 49 yards on nine attempts and put Canal Winchester up 14-7 with 3 minutes, 52 seconds left in the third quarter with an 11-yard touchdown run.
“I knew this was going to be a 14-7, 10-7, 14-10 kind of game,” said Canal Winchester coach Josh Stratton, whose team improved to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Capital. “I told my coaches all week that that was the kind of game we were in for. They’re really good on defense, and I think we’re pretty good on defense.”
Canal Winchester’s other first-half drives went 6, -11 and 3 yards with an interception.
Groveport, which dropped to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the league, marched 52 yards in 10 plays on its opening drive, with Jashaun McGraw scoring on a 21-yard run.
The sophomore led a Cruisers’ running game that gained 211 yards. He finished with 74 yards on 21 carries.
Groveport had opportunities to even the score in the second half, including a third-quarter drive that ended with a missed 43-yard field-goal attempt by Luis Hernandez.
Groveport’s final drive ended when Jared Mattox intercepted quarterback Elyjah Aekins around the Canal Winchester 30.
“It’s a rivalry game. It was even at the half and they got one more (score) than we did in the second half,” Groveport coach Bryan Schoonover said. “They were just a little better than us tonight.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final GROVEPORT 7 0 0 0 7 CANAL WINCHESTER 0 7 7 0 14
G—McGraw 21 run (Hernandez kick)
CW—Beeler 3 run (Musick kick)
CW—Toledo 11 run (Musick kick)