TIFFIN — The Olentangy football team had its chances throughout the second half of the Division II, Region 7 final Nov. 22 at Tiffin Columbian.
But not only did the sixth-seeded Braves not score on two trips to the Toledo Central Catholic 1-yard line, they also did not capitalize on three turnovers in the third quarter and fell 35-14 to the top-seeded Irish.
Olentangy, which was seeking its first regional championship since 2014 and second in program history, finished 7-6.
Central Catholic, which was ranked second in the final state poll, improved to 13-0 and will play Cincinnati La Salle in a state semifinal Nov. 29 at a neutral site.
“It wasn’t so much scheme but their personnel (that decided the game),” Olentangy coach Mark Solis said. “They were good up front. When you get to a regional final, everybody is good. … Their record speaks for itself, but I am proud of our players. We fought to the bitter end. They made more plays in the end.”
The Braves were unable to establish the running game that helped them to upset wins each of the previous two weeks. They were held to 22 yards on the ground in the first half — with quarterback Trent Maddox’s 13 yards on six carries leading the way — and 54 for the game on 30 carries.
Olentangy, which had rushed for an average of 246 yards in its two playoff wins, was outgained 300-168 in the first half.
Central Catholic’s Tae’Shaun Johnson scored a 30-yard touchdown on a sweep on the game’s third play.
Olentangy tied the game on its first drive when Jace Middleton caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Maddox, but the Irish answered with a 19-yard touchdown run from Jonzell Norrils.
Central Catholic scored on its first two drives of the second quarter, on a 56-yard pass from Bishop Vargas to Randy Williams Jr. and a 23-yard touchdown run for Johnson.
Olentangy did not score again until there were 5 minutes, 56 seconds left, when Jake Coleman caught a 26-yard touchdown pass, despite Central Catholic losing two fumbles and throwing an interception in the third quarter.
The Braves tried an onside kick and did not convert. Olentangy disputed the call and was assessed a 15-yard penalty, putting the ball at the 33-yard line.
On the next play, Norrils scampered to the end zone to make it 35-14.
“In the first half, things couldn’t have gone much better,” Irish coach Greg Dempsey said. “Defensively, we did well outside one drive. Thankfully, they stepped up in tight circumstances and kept (Olentangy) out of the end zone.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final OLENTANGY 7 0 0 7 14 TOLEDO CENTRAL CATHOLIC
14 14 0 7 35
CC—Johnson 30 run (Duckett kick)
O—Middleton 5 pass from Maddox (Olcott kick)
CC—Norrils 19 run (Duckett kick)
CC—Williams Jr. 56 pass from Vargas (Duckett kick)
CC—Johnson 23 run (Duckett kick)
O—Coleman 26 pass from Maddox (Olcott kick)
CC—Norrils 33 run (Duckett kick)