The Dublin Jerome football team held off Olentangy Berlin 25-20 on Oct. 25 to win at least a share of its first league championship since 2016.
The host Celtics led 25-7 with 1 minute, 10 seconds left in the third quarter, but Berlin scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter and cut the deficit to five with 4:03 left on a 2-yard run by Johnny Spinner.
Jerome was able to run out the clock and secure the win, however.
“That was a championship game,” said Jerome coach Bob Gecewich, whose team improved to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division. “It wasn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be.
“Berlin played great, but we knew coming in that they would be great. Their quarterback (Jacob Moeller) played out of his mind. Our guys really had a great win for the program.”
Jerome’s Sammy Stoner caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Miller. The junior also recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown and had an interception on defense.
“Sammy Stoner played out of his mind tonight,” Gecewich said. “He’s pretty much like every kid on our team. He does what he needs to do. He wasn’t a starter for us at the beginning of the season and now he starts on offense and defense and plays special teams for us.”
Carter Barco pulled in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Miller with 1:16 left in the third quarter to put Jerome up 25-7. The touchdown capped a 13-play, 94-yard drive that took 6:12 off the clock.
“We’ve been slow starters all year and we had our chances again, but we made crucial mistakes,” said Berlin coach Mark Nori, whose team trailed 18-0 early in the second quarter.
Moeller led the way for Berlin, which fell to 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the league. The junior was 19-for-41 passing for 238 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also had a 41-yard touchdown run.
Jalen Weitzel caught five passes for 84 yards for the Bears, and Jack Nebraska had four receptions for 55 yards.
Jerome had 332 total yards to 323 for Berlin, as Miller was 15-for-21 passing for 210 yards with three touchdowns. He also rushed for 60 yards on 13 carries, while Seth Martin had six catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final OLENTANGY BERLIN 0 7 0 13 20 DUBLIN JEROME
12 6 7 0 25
DJ—Stoner recovered fumble in end zone (kick failed)
DJ—Stoner 37 pass from Miller (run failed)
DJ—Martin 20 pass from Miller (pass failed)
OB—Lee 16 pass from Moeller (Lewis kick)
DJ—Barco 24 pass from Miller (Gross kick)
OB—Moeller 41 run (pass failed)
OB—Spinner 2 run (Lewis kick)