Friday Night Live roundup: Postseason Week 2 recaps

ThisWeek Sports Staff
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Westerville Central 21, Upper Arlington 20

Westerville Central opened a 14-0 first-half lead before holding off visiting Upper Arlington 21-20 in a Division I, Region 3 quarterfinal Oct. 16.

The Golden Bears closed to 21-20 on James Hayek’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Dominic Chiavaroli with 12 seconds remaining, but Zac Yoakam’s extra-point attempt bounced off the left upright to preserve the Warhawks’ win.

Westerville Central’s Judah Holtzclaw (6) jumps into the end zone during the Warhawks' Division I second-round playoff game against visiting Upper Arlington on Oct. 16. Central won 21-20.

“An absolute crazy game,” Central coach Brent Morrison said. “To win a game on a doink (extra-point attempt) was not anything you expect.”

The third-seeded Warhawks, who also won at UA 28-23 in the season opener Aug. 28, improved to 6-1 and will play host to 10th-seeded New Albany in a regional semifinal Oct. 23. The Eagles defeated second-seeded Pickerington North 44-20 on Oct. 16.

The 11th-seeded Golden Bears fell to 3-5 despite outgaining Central 409-281.

After UA tied the game at 14 in the fourth quarter, Central quarterback Judah Holtzclaw completed a pair of long passes to set up Michael Ross’ 4-yard touchdown run with 2:30 remaining.

The Golden Bears pulled even at 14 on a pair of short touchdown runs by Carson Gresock.

“We’re proud of their effort,” UA coach Justin Buttermore said. “This team believed. It comes down to belief in the players around them. We believed that we could get stops. We believed that we could get scores. We found ourselves right back in the game and one play away from winning the game.”

Central opened the scoring when Holtzclaw tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Owen Franks with 4:12 left in the first quarter.

The Warhawks doubled their lead on Ross’ 7-yard run with 7:36 left in the first half.

Central had two other touchdowns nullified by penalties in the first half.

--Frank DiRenna

UPPER ARLINGTON: 0-0-7-13--20

WESTERVILLE CENTRAL: 7-7-0-7--21     

WC— Franks 5 pass from Holtzclaw (Robertson kick)

WC—Ross 7 run (Robertson kick)

UA—Gresock 4 run (Yoakam kick)

UA—Gresock 1 run (Yoakam kick)

WC—Ross 4 run (Robertson kick)

UA-—Chiavaroli 6 pass from Hayek (kick failed)

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Hilliard Bradley teammates celebrate after stopping a Reynoldsburg 2-point conversion attempt with seconds left in the teams' Division second-round playoff game at Reynoldsburg. Bradley won 31-30.

Hilliard Bradley 31, Reynoldsburg 30

Linebacker Payton Murphy and the Hilliard Bradley defense bottled up Reynoldsburg’s James Williams on a two-point conversion run with 16.5 seconds remaining to secure a 31-30 win Oct. 16 in a Division I, Region 3 quarterfinal.

The 13th-seeded and visiting Jaguars improved to 3-5 and advanced to play at top-seeded and defending state champion Pickerington Central on Oct. 23 in a regional semifinal.

“All 11 of us were expecting a run and we did what we needed to do,” Murphy said. “We all moved in to make the stop. It was a team effort.”

Reynoldsburg coach Buddy White said there was never a question of whether or not to go for a two-point conversion.

“We said if we went down and scored on that final drive that we would go for 2,” said White, whose fifth-seeded Raiders dropped to 4-4. “We had a good play, but we didn’t execute it and they stuffed it.”

With 6:02 left in the fourth quarter, Bradley defensive back Mason Koons intercepted Reynoldsburg quarterback Dijon Jennings and returned the ball to the Raiders’ 33-yard line. One play later, Jaguars quarterback A.J. Mirgon raced to the end zone to put his team up 31-24.

Mirgon rushed for 111 yards and one score on 26 carries, and he was 14-for-24 passing for 171 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

“We came out and played physical tonight,” Mirgon said. “We started strong and didn’t slow down against a tough team.”

Daniel Broomfield led Reynoldsburg by rushing for 123 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries. Jennings was 15-for-25 passing for 213 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Bradley’s Justice Ross caught six passes for 99 yards and one touchdown.

--Scott Hennen

HILLIARD BRADLEY: 7-10-7-7--31

REYNOLDSBURG: 11-6-7-6--30

HB—Ross 27 pass from Mirgon (Walter kick)

R—Miars 25 FG

R—Gillam 53 pass from Jennings (Williams run)

HB—Walter 33 FG

HB—Duffer 3 pass from Mirgon (Walter kick)

R—Williams 2 run (run failed)

R—Broomfield 4 run (Miars kick)

HB—Schuler 21 pass from Mirgon (Walter kick)

HB—Mirgon 33 run (Walter kick)

R—Gillam 4 pass from Jennings (run failed)

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New Albany's Brock Kidwell scores a rushing touchdown on fourth down as he gets past Pickerington North's Dejuan Hood (41) during the teams' Division I second-round playoff game Oct. 16 at North. The Eagles won 44-20.

New Albany 44, Pickerington North 20

Calling his team the most focused he could remember in his 17 seasons at New Albany as either a head coach or assistant, Bubba Kidwell wasn’t sure where to start breaking down a 44-20 upset of second-seeded Pickerington North in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal Oct. 16.

The 10th-seeded Eagles’ defense forced two turnovers, both fumbles, and came up with two critical fourth-down stops.

The offense showed vast improvement from having been largely shut down three weeks earlier in a 56-21 regular-season loss to the Panthers, as it rolled up 451 yards — with 251 coming after halftime — and outscored North 27-0 in the second half.

“I’ve never seen a team more focused for a game than this one,” Kidwell said. “We came in with the mindset to beat Pickerington North, not just to compete with them and keep things close. We had an unbelievable week preparing and it showed here.”

Mechi McCaulley ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns, Brock Tibbitts completed eight of 14 passes for 138 yards and a score and ran for a score and Jayden Fudge added 112 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries as New Albany improved to 5-3 and will visit third-seeded Westerville Central for a regional semifinal Oct. 23.

Brock Kidwell’s 22-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-2 on New Albany’s first possession of the second half gave the Eagles a 23-20 lead and helped spark the comeback.

“It was more a line play. I just got the ball and ran,” Brock Kidwell said. “Everything was straight open.”

Panthers quarterback Jaylen Gilbert completed 20 of 36 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns, including a 35-yard pass to Carl Allen II in the final minute of the first half to give North a 20-17 lead. Gilbert also rushed for 78 yards and a score on 10 carries.

“There were a lot of momentum shifts,” said North coach Nate Hillerich, whose team dropped to 6-2 with its first loss since a 35-9 setback to Pickerington Central in its Aug. 30 opener. “You can’t turn the ball over. We didn’t tackle well, and they were really good and really motivated.”

--Dave Purpura

NEW ALBANY: 0-17-6-21--44

PICKERINGTON NORTH: 14-6-0-0--20

PN—Lawrence 62 pass from Gilbert (Pope kick)

PN—Gilbert 28 run (Pope kick)

NA—Tibbitts 7 run (Hoff kick)

NA—McCaulley 11 run (Hoff kick)

NA—Hoff 31 FG

PN—Allen II 35 pass from Gilbert (kick failed)

NA—Kidwell 22 run (kick failed)

NA—McCaulley 9 run (Hoff kick)

NA—Wilcox 20 pass from Tibbitts (Hoff kick)

NA—Fudge 15 run (Hoff kick)

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Watterson’s Brandon Trout runs for a first down before being tackled by Hamilton Township's Brock McGuire during the teams' Division III second-round playoff game at Watterson. The Eagles won 39-21.

Watterson 39, Hamilton Township 21

Paced by four touchdowns from senior running back Cam Nickleson, sixth-seeded Watterson beat 11th-seeded Hamilton Township 39-21 in a second-round playoff game Oct. 16 at Ohio Dominican.

In the postseason opener for the Eagles after a first-round bye in Division III, Region 11, Nickleson rushed for 158 yards on 14 carries.

Watterson improved to 4-3, and will play Oct. 23 at third-seeded Thornville Sheridan in a regional quarterfinal. Hamilton Township dropped to 5-2.

Nickleson's final touchdown was a 54-yard run that gave the Eagles a 33-14 lead on the second play of the third quarter.

Watterson scored its final touchdown on a 27-yard pass from quarterback Jake Hoying to Andrew Bettendorf with 8 minutes, 27 seconds remaining.

"Cam has played well all year," Eagles coach Brian Kennedy said. "The way he runs, he's not going down on that first hit, but I also thought our offensive line did a good job blocking."

The Eagles took a 6-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown by Nickleson with 8:13 left in the first quarter. The score was set up by a fumble recovery by Nick Youell at the Hamilton Township 45.

Watterson made it 13-0 on a 43-yard run by Nickleson two minutes later. The Eagles began the drive at the Hamilton Township 43 after a 14-yard punt return by Tyler Young.

The Rangers cut it to 13-7 when quarterback Brock McGuire hit Kaden Kiser in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown on fourth-and-9.

Young returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 19-7, however.

"Our offense tonight was super outstanding," Young said. "We only had a couple plays and we'd score, our defense would get us on the field and we'd score again."

Hamilton Township's Josiah Beverly ran for a 21-yard touchdown to cut it to 19-14 with 7:29 to go in the second quarter but the Eagles answered with a 15-yard scoring run by Nickleson just over a minute later. Hoying completed a two-point conversion pass to Young make it 27-14.

Hoying completed 11 of 16 passes for 167 yards, while Beverly led the Rangers with 78 yards rushing on 11 carries.

"That fumble hurt," Rangers coach Tennyson Varney said. "We'll regroup. The good thing about playing a good team is that you get better."

--Jarrod Ulrey

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP: 0-14-0-7--21

WATTERSON: 13-14-6-6--39

W—Nickleson 1 run (kick failed)

W—Nickleson 43 run (Blank kick)

HT—Kiser 17 pass from McGuire (Pickens kick)

W—Young 80 kickoff return (kick blocked)

HT—Beverly 21 run (Pickens kick)

W—Nickleson 15 run (Young pass from Hoying)

W—Nickleson 54 run (pass failed)

W—Bettendorf 27 pass from Hoying (pass failed)

HT—Mikell 24 pass from McGuire (Pickens kick)

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Dublin Scioto's Ed Worthen breaks away from Big Walnut's Zach Willoughby-Neal (32) and Gordon Rond (16) during the teams' Division II second-round playoff game Oct. 16 at Scioto. The Irish won 31-13.

Dublin Scioto 31, Big Walnut 13

Ed Worthen rushed for three touchdowns and Cameron Jackson had two interceptions as eighth-seeded Dublin Scioto got past visiting ninth-seeded Big Walnut 31-13 in a Division II, Region 7 second-round playoff game Oct. 16.

Scioto, which improved to 7-1, will play at top-seeded Massillon Perry in a regional quarterfinal on Friday, Oct. 23.

“Our defense did a great job of taking advantage of some opportunities,” said Scioto coach Karl Johnson, whose team also beat the Golden Eagles 15-14 on Oct. 2. “Those were big turnovers and a big difference in this game because they’re a good team.”

Jackson returned his first interception 25 yards for a touchdown to give the Irish their first lead at 10-6 in the first quarter.

His second interception came late in the second quarter after Big Walnut freshman quarterback Jake Nier had just replaced injured senior starter Jagger Barnett.

Worthen scored on the next play to give Scioto a 24-6 halftime lead.

“That wasn't Jake’s fault,” Big Walnut coach Rob Page said. “I shouldn’t have put him in that position and called that pass. We should’ve taken a knee and gone into the half and regrouped.”

Big Walnut, which dropped to 4-4, finished with five turnovers.

Worthen rushed for 152 yards on five carries, and quarterback Amare Jenkins completed 10 of 21 passes for 121 yards.

“It’s good to be part of this and do my thing,” Worthen said. “We knew this was going to be a hard game.”

Caden Williams had touchdown runs of 4 and 25 yards and rushed for 217 yards on 36 carries for Big Walnut.

--Scott Gerfen

BIG WALNUT: 6-0-7-0–13

DUBLIN SCIOTO: 10-14-0-7–31

BW—Williams 4 run (kick failed)

DS—Salvator 30 FG

DS—Williams 25 interception return (Salvator kick)

DS—Worthen 1 run (Salvator kick)

DS—Worthen 1 run (Salvator kick)

BW—Williams 25 run (kick made)

DS—Worthen 12 run (Salvator kick)

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Pickerington Central quarterback Garner Wallace leaps through a block toward Hilliard Darby linebacker Benjamin Marsh during the teams' Division I second-round playoff game at Central. The Tigers won 35-16.

Pickerington Central 35, Hilliard Darby 16

Sparked by two kick returns for scores by Lorenzo Styles Jr., top-seeded Pickerington Central overcame a first-quarter deficit to defeat ninth-seeded Hilliard Darby 35-16 in a Division I, Region 3 quarterfinal on Oct. 16. 

The defending state champion Tigers improved to 8-0 and will play host to 13th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in a regional semifinal on Friday, Oct. 23, while the Panthers dropped to 4-4.

After Darby quarterback Blake Horvath’s 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter put the Panthers ahead 7-0, Styles returned a punt 75 yards for a score early in the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7. 

Darby then went ahead 10-7 on a 38-yard field goal by Joshua DiGioia, but Styles returned the kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 14-10 lead. 

“When we go into punt formation, we know at any moment if Lorenzo gets a seam, he’s going to pop it,” Central coach Jay Sharrett said. 

“That was our focus all week, not kick to (Styles Jr.),” Darby coach John Santagata said. “Unfortunately we did.” 

Nick Mosley then took over for Central in the second half, rushing for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns and a 7-yard score as the Tigers pulled away.. 

“In the second half, I think we started to wrestle the game away from them a little bit, and the offensive line kind of got going,” Sharrett said. “And we’re advancing to the third round. Hilliard Darby came to play football tonight. Fortunately our kids did too. It was just a stalemate. Coach Santagata, he had those guys light on their feet.” 

Central quarterback Garner Wallace completed 10 of 13 passes for 172 yards and an interception and rushed 10 times for 52 yards, while Mosley ran 25 times for 113 yards, and Styles Jr. caught five passes for 95 yards and rushed twice for 28 yards. 

For Darby, Horvath rushed 24 times for 199 yards and two touchdowns and completed three of seven passes for 24 yards with an interception. Connor Jones ran for 73 yards of 15 carries. 

“I was proud of how our kids played,” Santagata said. “I thought we battled.” 

--Stephen Borgna

HILLIARD DARBY: 7-3-6-0--16

PICKERINGTON CENTRAL: 0-14-14-7--35

HD—Horvath 1 run (DiGioia kick) 

PC—Styles Jr. 75 punt return (Vollmer kick) 

HD—DiGioia 38 field goal 

PC—Styles Jr. 90 kickoff return (Vollmer kick) 

PC—Mosley 1 run (Vollmer kick) 

HD—Horvath 58 run (2 point failed) 

PC—Mosley 1 run (Vollmer kick) 

PC—Mosley 7 run (Vollmer kick)

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Olentangy 47, Licking Heights 0

Olentangy needed the bye week, but the Braves still could not wait to return to the field. 

No. 4 Olentangy quickly made back-to-back losses a distant memory Oct. 16, scoring four first-quarter touchdowns to prevent any thoughts of an upset from No. 13 Licking Heights. The Braves cruised to a 47-0 victory against the visiting Hornets in a Division II, Region 7 second-round game. 

"We had to get off the schneid a little bit. We did not play Olentangy Braves football the last two weeks of the season, so we learned a lot from it," said coach Mark Solis, referring to losses to Dublin Jerome and Marysville.  

The Braves (5-2) play host to No. 12 Worthington Kilbourne on Oct. 23. 

"We worked extremely hard during the bye week just on ourselves, getting better in a lot of fundamental areas," Solis added. "That showed tonight. We had a couple guys dinged up we were able to get healthy." 

Kaden Doup had one of Olentangy’s three rushing scores in the first quarter, and he also threw three touchdown passes. 

Licking Heights (3-5) dropped to 0-4 on the road and again fell in a sizable hole early in the game. Two first-quarter turnovers led to scoring drives of 14 and 12 yards for the Braves. 

Olentangy overcame two penalties on its initial drive, and Doup capped it with a 33-yard run. Doup then hit Jace Middleton for a 14-yard scoring pass after a Braves strip sack. 

Malik Wade (40 yards) and Mike Parsio (6 yards) scored on runs late in the first quarter. Doup hit Daniel Kelly for a 49-yard TD on a catch and run on a crossing pattern in the second quarter, and tight end Ethan Hand lined up in the backfield and scored on a 2-yard run in the final minute of the first half. 

"That's part of our mantra out here offensively," said Solis, whose team had seven players score. "We believe in spreading the wealth, and anybody can score at any given time." 

Doup was 11-for-12 passing for 173 yards, including a 14-yard pass to Dubby Agudosi for the Braves’ final score. Middleton caught five passes for 59 yards and Kelly three for 86. 

--Kurt Snyder, Newark Advocate 

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Looking for more?

Listen to the Week 2 playoff installment of the AM 820 Scoreboard Show with hosts Ryan Baker, coach Larry Wolf and ThisWeek managing editor Lee Cochran. Area high school football coaches interviewed were Watterson's Brian Kennedy, Hartley's Brad Burchfield, Olentangy's Mark Solis, Westerville Central's Mike Banig, Olentangy Liberty's Steve Hale, Dublin Coffman's Mark Crabtree, Newark Catholic's Ryan Aiello, Hilliard Bradley's Mike LoParo, Pickerington Central's Jay Sharrett and New Albany's Bubba Kidwell.