Needing 1 yard to extend its season against Jonathan Alder in the Division III, Region 11 final Nov. 22 at Hilliard Darby, the Hartley football team gave the ball to senior running back Jalan January as it has done at so many other crucial times this season.
January delivered a 5-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1 with 1 minute, 23 seconds left to give the Hawks the lead and George Dunor returned an interception 99 yards on the last play of the game to seal Hartley’s 27-14 victory.
The top-seeded Hawks improved to 12-1 and will play Trotwood-Madison in a state semifinal Nov. 29 at a site to be announced.
“As the game goes on you, just find ways to push forward, find ways to persevere,” January said. “At the end of the game, you know you’ve got to get a touchdown and you know you can push it in and we just went out and executed.”
Second-seeded Jonathan Alder, which finished 12-1, played most of the final three quarters without quarterback J.T. Keith because of an injury, but took a 14-13 lead on a 9-yard run by Garret Proxmire with 8:48 remaining.
Hartley began its game-winning drive with 6:15 left at its own 12 and handed the ball to January on 12 of 13 plays, including the winning score. Quarterback Miles Fleming ran in for the two-point conversion and a 21-14 lead.
The Pioneers took over at their own 35 and marched to the 15 with 8.3 seconds left, but backup quarterback Taber Headings was intercepted by Dunor to seal Hartley’s victory.
“Just a tough championship ballgame, back and forth and you’ve got to find a way to win,” Hawks coach Brad Burchfield said. “They were 12-0 and had a great plan.”
January completed a seven-play, 70-yard drive with a 19-yard run with 2:14 left in the third quarter to give the Hawks a 13-7 lead.
Hartley set the tone on the game’s first play when Angelo Evans ran for 35 yards on a double handoff to move the ball to the Pioneers’ 28. Four plays later, January ran for a 9-yard touchdown.
Jonathan Alder put together a scoring drive late in the first quarter after taking over at its own 40. Keith threw to Jacob Fenik for a 5-yard completion to move the ball to the Hartley 3, but Keith was stopped for no gain and left with an injury on the next play and did not return.
On third-and-goal, Fenik took a shotgun snap and ran for a touchdown to tie the game at 7 with 9:46 to go in the second quarter.
January finished with 185 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries for the Hawks, who are in a state semifinal for the first time since winning back-to-back Division IV state titles in 2015 and ’16.
“I’m feeling nothing but happiness right now,” Dunor said. “We worked so hard to get to this point.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final JONATHAN ALDER 0 7 0 7 14 HARTLEY
7 0 6 14 27
H—January 9 run (Hawk kick)
JA—Fenik 3 run (Moore kick)
H—January 19 run (kick failed)
JA—Proxmire 9 run (Moore kick)
H—January 19 run (Fleming run)
H—Dunor 99 interception return