Friday Night Live roundup: Postseason Week 3 recaps
Olentangy Liberty 18, Dublin Coffman 15
Josh Piela gave an extra bit of effort characteristic of Olentangy Liberty’s gritty performance in an 18-15 victory at top-seeded Dublin Coffman on Oct. 24 in a Division I, Region 2 semifinal.
Piela was in the Coffman backfield to pounce on a fumbled exchange between quarterback Connor Mathews and running back Bryon Threats at the Patriots’ 16-yard line with 49 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Liberty then ran out the clock to secure a fourth appearance in a regional championship game in five seasons.
“We were all exhausted, but we did our job,” Piela said. “We followed our man up front on the D-line. I happened to be there, followed my keys and saw No. 2 (Threats) fumble the ball and I dove on it.
“We always talk about playing with all of our heart and giving 100 percent effort. That’s what this defense is built on. We don’t have a bunch of scholarship guys, but we make up for it with effort. That’s what we do.”
The fourth-seeded Patriots improved to 8-1 in a game that was pushed back one day because of bad weather and will play third-seeded Springfield in the Region 2 final Oct. 30 at a neutral site.
The Wildcats are 7-1 after second-seed Clayton Northmont couldn’t play in the semifinal because of a positive COVID-19 coronavirus test.
The Shamrocks, who fell to 8-1, took a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game when Mitch Broskie blocked a Liberty punt around the Liberty 16 on the opening drive. O.J. Morris recovered the loose ball in the end zone for a 7-0 Coffman lead with 10:52 left in the first quarter.
The Patriots took control on both sides of the ball for the remainder of the first half, however, as they utilized the skill set of Aidan Kenley both running the ball and as a receiver.
Kenley rushed for 55 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries and had 11 receptions for 120 yards and one touchdown.
“We tried to put our kids in the right position and we knew we had to use Aidan in as many ways possible,” said Liberty coach Steve Hale, whose team lost to Coffman 24-17 on Sept. 4. “We tried to make them defend the whole field. We looked at the film from last time and we tried to find seams and spots to hit them.”
Mitch Fields connected with Chase Brecht on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 1:33 left in the third quarter to push the Patriots’ lead to 18-7 before Coffman started to find its offensive rhythm.
Mathews scored on a 6-yard run and ran for the two-point conversion with 2:14 to play. After getting the ball back, the Shamrocks drove to the Liberty 13 before the bad exchange in the final minute.
“It never entered my brain that we’d be fumbling the ball, especially with those two guys and the chemistry that they’ve had all season,” Coffman coach Mark Crabtree said. “It was a bad exchange somehow. We got the ball down there and had a chance to possibly win or tie the game. That’s football for you. That’s how it goes.
“We didn’t have any rhythm to speak of in the first half and part of the second half. They had a lot of rhythm with some short passes and some simple things. The name of the game is getting first downs and they were getting them and we weren’t.”
Fields completed 29 of 36 passes for 274 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Brecht caught seven passes for 89 yards.
Mathews was 14-for-28 passing for 111 yards with three interceptions, and he ran 14 times for 41 yards and one score. Threats rushed for 68 yards on 17 carries and caught three passes for 44 yards.
OLENTANGY LIBERTY: 12-0-6-0--18
DUBLIN COFFMAN: 7-0-0-8--15
DC—Morris recovered blocked punt in end zone (Magyar kick)
OL—Kenley 24 run (kick failed)
OL—Kenley 32 pass from Fields (pass failed)
OL—Brecht 9 pass from Fields (kick failed)
DC—Mathews 6 run (Mathews run)
Westerville South 56, Olentangy Berlin 29
Westerville South got big plays on both sides of the ball to pull away from visiting Olentangy Berlin for a 56-29 win in a Division II, Region 7 quarterfinal.
The game began Oct. 23 but was suspended in the third quarter because of bad weather and concluded Oct. 24.
The third-seeded Wildcats improved to 7-0 and will travel to second-seeded Massillon Washington for a regional semifinal Oct. 30.
“We’re a load (offensively),” said South coach Matthew Christ, whose team finished with 543 yards of total offense. “We have a lot of weapons. Our running backs are certainly showing up, and that’s a credit to our offensive line and Ethan Hanna’s and Brandon Armstrong’s ability to run the ball. We’re pretty balanced.”
The 11th-seeded Bears fell to 5-4.
After Berlin recovered a loose ball on a squib kick to begin the game and drove to the South 1-yard line, the Wildcats’ Kaden Saunders intercepted a pass in the end zone and raced 106 yards for the opening score.
The Bears tied the game on Gavin Angell’s 80-yard touchdown run, but the Wildcats outscored Berlin 28-3 over the final nine minutes of the half for a 35-10 lead at halftime.
Armstrong’s 36-yard touchdown run gave South the lead for good at 14-10 with 21 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Hanna had an 82-yard scoring run, and Peter Pedrozo added touchdown passes to Saunders (26 yards) and Jesse DeVore (50 yards) in the first half.
Pedrozo completed 15 of 20 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns. Armstrong rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, and Saunders had five catches for 122 yards and two scores.
Bears quarterback Jacob Moeller completed 21 of 36 passes for 352 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
“They’re really fast,” Berlin coach Mark Nori said. “They were fast, talented. There’s a reason why they have kids going where they’re going. They have playmakers all over the place, so it was tough for us to keep up with them.”
OLENTANGY BERLIN: 10-0-3-16--29
WESTERVILLE SOUTH: 14-21-14-7--56
WS—Saunders 106 interception return (Bame kick)
OB—Angell 82 run (Rader kick)
OB—Rader 32 FG
WS—Armstrong 36 run (Bame kick)
WS—Hanna 82 run (Bame kick)
WS—Saunders 26 pass from Pedrozo (Bame kick)
WS—DeVore 50 pass from Pedrozo (Bame kick)
WS—Hanna 1 run (Bame kick)
OB—Rader 24 FG
WS—Saunders 40 pass from Pedrozo (Bame kick)
WS—Armstrong 33 run (Bame kick)
OB—Angell 14 pass from Moeller (Rader pass from Moeller)
OB—Gavin 3 pass from Moeller (Moeller pass from Brewster)
Olentangy 35, Worthington Kilbourne 13
Olentangy didn’t miss a beat when its Division II, Region 7 quarterfinal resumed a day later because of storms, as the Braves defeated visiting Worthington Kilbourne 35-13 on Oct. 24.
The game was suspended with 6:08 left in the second quarter Oct. 23 and Olentangy leading 7-0 on a 3-yard touchdown run by Landon Johnson, but the fourth-seeded Braves came out the next morning and put up another 28 points.
“The way our guys responded coming back … it’s a testament to who they are. It’s a testament to our senior leadership and it’s a testament to their character and their will to want to continue to play,” said Olentangy coach Mark Solis, whose team improved to 6-2 and will visit top-seeded Massillon Perry in a regional semifinal Oct. 30.
“It’s a testament to our program. We have phenomenal kids, the coaches did a great job of getting our kids prepared and we’re moving on.”
The Braves made it 14-0 after the game resumed when quarterback Kaden Doup completed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Jace Middleton, but Kilbourne’s Cayden Dougherty returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a score to cut the lead to 14-7
After that, however, the Braves scored 21 consecutive points in the second half to put the game out of reach. Johnson ran for another touchdown from a yard out, Middleton caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from Doup and Doup added a 1-yard score.
Kilbourne quarterback Mitchell Tomasek’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Skylar Scott with 7:12 left in the fourth quarter closed the scoring for the 12th-seeded Wolves, who dropped to 5-4.
The Braves finished with 374 yards of total offense, as Doup completed 11 of 20 passes for 174 yards and rushed 14 times for 53 yards.
Johnson had 13 carries for 52 yards and one reception for 11 yards, and Middleton caught five passes for 138 yards and carried twice for 14 yards.
Tomasek completed 16 of 33 passes for 158 yards with one score but was intercepted three times. Terrique Gray carried 22 times for 60 yards, and Scott had six receptions for 63 yards.
“I’m so proud of our kids and our program and our culture,” Kilbourne coach Mike Edwards said. “We’re taking every positive out of this experience, with our senior class leading the way.”
WORTHINGTON KILBOURNE: 0-7-0-6--13
O—Johnson 3 run (Olcott kick)
O—Middleton 42 pass from Doup (Olcott kick)
WK—Dougherty 85 return (Erciyas kick)
O—Johnson 1 run (Olcott kick)
O—Middleton 62 pass from Doup (Olcott kick)
O—Doup 1 run (Olcott kick)
WK—Scott 16 pass from Tomasek (kick failed)
Pickerington Central is headed to its fifth consecutive regional championship game after beating 13th-seeded Hilliard Bradley 34-7 on Oct. 23.
The host and top-seeded Tigers, who improved to 9-0 while the Jaguars dropped to 3-6, will play third-seeded Westerville Central on Oct. 30 in a regional final.
The Warhawks defeated New Albany 50-7 in the other Division I, Region 3 semifinal.
Nick Mosley rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries and Lorenzo Styles Jr. ran for 99 yards and one touchdown on five attempts and added a touchdown reception to lead the offense.
"Nick's done a great job at running back all year and with Lorenzo, if we need to use him kind of like a decoy on a counter, it works," coach Jay Sharrett said.
The Tigers took a 7-0 lead with 4:37 left in the opening quarter on a 1-yard run by Mosley. Central started the possession at the Bradley 18 after a 14-yard punt.
Central began its next drive at the Bradley 42 after a 27-yard punt return by Styles and made it 14-0 on a 31-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Garner Wallace to Styles.
Styles later ran for a 48-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 24-0 lead, and Mitchell Vollmer’s second field goal – from 43 yards – made it 27-0 at halftime.
"We were just playing fundamentally sound out there, trying to contain their quarterback because he’s elusive," Tigers defensive lineman Tyler Gillison said.
Bradley cut it to 27-7 when quarterback A.J. Mirgon connected with Kenyon Richardson for a 39-yard touchdown with 4:38 left in the third quarter, but Mosley closed the scoring with a 41-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Central’s defense turned in another strong performance, limiting Bradley to 87 yards on 36 rushes.
"We didn't get things done early in the game and said let's come out and try to win the second half," Bradley coach Mike LoParo said. "All you can do is play hard and send your seniors out on a high note."
HILLIARD BRADLEY: 0-0-7-0--7
PICKERINGTON CENTRAL: 14-13-0-7--34
PC—Mosley 1 run (Vollmer kick)
PC—Styles Jr. 31 pass from Wallace (Vollmer kick)
PC—Vollmer 24 FG
PC—Styles Jr. 48 run (Vollmer kick)
PC—Vollmer 43 FG
HB—Richardson 39 pass from Mirgon (Walter kick)
PC—Mosley 41 run (Vollmer kick)
Westerville Central 50, New Albany 7
Not only did Westerville Central survive a major scare last week to advance in the Division I, Region 3 playoffs, the Warhawks also saw film of how this week’s opponent, New Albany, prolonged its season by routing Pickerington North, a team to which it had lost by 35 points less than a month earlier.
The third-seeded Warhawks left nothing to chance in a regional semifinal Oct. 23, overwhelming the visiting and 10th-seeded Eagles by scoring 35 points in a 6-minute, 13-second stretch of the second quarter to cruise to a 50-7 win.
“We looked at that first game we played them (a 42-7 win Oct. 2) and knew what they were running. It paid off,” said Central defensive back Kyle Denney, who returned one of his two interceptions 26 yards for a touchdown in the second-quarter onslaught. “(New Albany) was on a revenge tour and they had a fantastic win last week. We just had to get ready and play well. Everything paid off.”
Quarterback Judah Holtzclaw completed eight of 12 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns, both to Luke Swaney, and ran for 62 yards and two scores on three carries. New Albany committed four turnovers — three interceptions and a fumble.
Central, which had edged Upper Arlington 21-20 in a regional quarterfinal, improved to 7-1 and will play at top-seeded Pickerington Central in the regional final Oct. 30.
Zeke Healy’s interception at the end of the first preceded the first of two 5-yard touchdown runs for Holtzclaw. Denney’s first interception set up the second.
Mike Ross scored from 3 yards, Denney scored on his interception and Swaney caught the second of two touchdown passes from Holtzclaw on the next drive to make it 43-7 with 5:14 left in the half.
“Winning a regional final has never been done here,” Holtzclaw said. “This is just the next step in the process.”
The start of the second half was delayed for 2 hours, 4 minutes by bad weather.
Jadyn Garnes’ 115 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries led New Albany, which finished 5-4.
“They’re an explosive team,” Eagles coach Bubba Kidwell said. “They can score quick. We helped them out. They never had to drive too far down the field.”
New Albany: 0-7-0-0--7
Westerville Central: 8-35-7-0--50
WC—Swaney 16 pass from Holtzclaw (Francescone run)
WC—Holtzclaw 5 run (Robertson kick)
WC—Holtzclaw 5 run (Robertson kick)
NA—Garnes 70 run (Hoff kick)
WC—Ross 3 run (Robertson kick)
WC—Denney 26 INT return (Robertson kick)
WC—Swaney 14 pass from Holtzclaw (Robertson kick)
WC—Holtzclaw 15 run (Robertson kick)
Hartley 34, Dresden Tri-Valley 14
Second-seeded Hartley scored on its first three possessions and rushed for 376 yards in defeating visiting and 10th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley 34-14 in a Division III, Region 11 quarterfinal Oct. 23.
The Hawks had a 28-7 lead before both teams had to wait out a more than 2 1/2 hour lightning delay.
“Any time you have a home game in the playoffs, you want to get off to a fast start,” Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said. “We were able to do that and gain some momentum.”
Hartley will play host to third-seeded Thornville Sheridan in a semifinal Oct. 30.
The Hawks used big plays to go up 14-0.
On fourth-and-7, Peyton Underwood hit Treyvhon Saunders on a crossing route and he raced 39 yards for the score.
Nyal Johnson, who finished with 92 yards on 13 carries, then added a 35-yard touchdown run.
The Hawks grinded out an 11-play, 53-yard drive on their third possession, with Marcelis Parker scoring on a 4-yard run to make it 20-0 with 10 minutes, 34 seconds left in the second quarter.
Parker had 91 yards on 17 carries, and Sumo Kesselly ran nine times for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
The Scotties had long touchdown runs from Jordan Pantaleo (80 yards) and Blake Sands (54 yards).
Sands’ run with 2:31 left in the second quarter made it 28-14 and happened on Tri-Valley’s opening possession following the delay.
“I thought we were really going to control the whole football game, but we gave up a couple of long ones,” Burchfield said. “They’re a good football team. They probably came in, ironically enough, with a little more juice than we did.”
Hartley outgained Tri-Valley 410-229.
H—Saunders 39 pass from Underwood (Heskett kick)
H—Johnson 35 run (Heskett kick)
H—Parker 4 run (run failed)
TV—Pantaleo 80 run (McCullough kick)
H—Kesselly 16 run (Kesselly run)
TV—Sands 54 run (McCullough kick)
H—Kesselly 24 run (run failed)
Thornville Sheridan 28, Watterson 20
It was about an hour into a Monday afternoon practice when Paul Culver III got his defense together and started discussing Watterson’s spread offense.
The Thornville Sheridan coach pointed at linebacker Shay Taylor and made a simple statement: “You were made for this game.”
If only he knew what was to come.
With his team clinging to an eight-point lead and visiting Watterson driving with a minute to go, the Generals desperately needed a play to be made. Right on cue, it was Taylor, whose leaping interception of Jake Hoying in the red zone secured a 28-20 win in a Division III, Region 11 quarterfinal Oct. 23.
Jason Munyan carried 33 times for 143 yards and three touchdowns for the Generals (8-0), who ran 47 times for 209 yards overall and held the high-powered Eagles (4-4) to 226 total yards.
The interception was the third big play the 6-3, 215-pound Taylor, with a reputation for strong pass coverage, made in the fourth quarter. Prior to the final drive, he had a sack of Hoying that forced a third-and-long and ensuing punt. He also produced a tackle-for-loss in that series.
None of it surprises Culver anymore. He was confident entering the game that Taylor’s presence was going to play a critical role, both in coverage and as a blitzer.
The Generals advanced to travel to Hartley, a 34-14 winner over Dresden Tri-Valley on Oct. 23, in a semifinal Oct. 30. The Hawks won a pair of high-scoring games against Watterson this season in CCL play.
“Shay is right in the heart of the defense, right in the middle of the field all of the time,” Culver said. “He had a sack, he had a big tackle for loss and he had a pick. There it is. I don’t have to send out a game (to recruiters), I have to send out a clip. He had three or four clips of ‘this is the kid who can play at this level, in a playoff game against that quarterback and that group of receivers.’ Incredible.”
Taylor said he saw a crossing route coming his way on the final play and knew he had to account for him with a blitz called. His timing couldn’t have been better, as it capped the best defensive showing of the season.
“That just shows what coach Chad (Culver) and coach (Paul) Culver emphasize on, it really shows that we’re one of the best defensive teams in the state,” Taylor said. “You see Watterson putting up 40 on guys, so that’s a big statement. It’s a big confidence boost for sure.”
The Sheridan defense, aided by an offense that helped create a 15-minute edge in time of possession, allowed only one offensive touchdown. Two of Watterson’s scores came on punt returns of 56 and 57 yards from Tyler Young in the first half, which posted the Eagles to a 20-14 lead with 2:33 left in the first half.
The Eagles still had chances, despite losing tailback Cam Nickleson to a third-quarter ankle injury, and an interception from Corey Amspaugh that erased a potential score seconds later.
"Sheridan is a really good team," Watterson coach Brian Kennedy said. "Well-coached, very disciplined, played hard, I thought they were extremely physical. I thought they did a really good job of controlling the ball on offense, and they did a really good job of taking stuff away from us offensively."
When asked afterward how his team responded “from getting punched in the mouth early on,” Culver had a surly response.
“The only punch in the mouth was special teams,” Culver said. “C’mon, we only gave up seven points to that offense? DeSales didn’t give up seven points. Hartley didn’t hold them to seven. Our defense, I couldn’t be prouder.”
Sheridan ran 64 plays to Watterson’s 44, largely due to Munyan’s tough inside running and strong line play, but quarterback Josh O’Ryan made several timely completions.
None were bigger than a 16-yarder on fourth-and-9 to Landen Russell during a two-minute drill, when Russell snagged it over the middle against tight coverage. It led to a 4-yard O’Ryan touchdown run that turned a six-point deficit into a 21-20 halftime lead.
Considering Watterson got the ball to start the second half, it was a notable momentum swing. It became even bigger when Sheridan turned a three-and-out into a nine-play, 73-yard scoring drive to extend the lead to 28-20 on Munyan’s 3-yard scoring run. He also had runs of 13 and 32 yards on the drive.
“They were so efficient with it, but we practice those things constantly,” Culver said of the hurry-up offense. “That’s not something you can practice occasionally. You have to practice that all of the time.”
O’Ryan hit seven of his last 10 passes in the first half, all during consecutive scoring drives. He said afterward that the players around him, namely the line's excellent protection, allowed him to be comfortable.
“That pass on fourth down, that dig route against our kid who is being covered like a blanket, and Russ making that catch, our kids made plays,” Culver said. “That’s how you win big games. You have to have kids not just do their jobs but to have kids do some things extraordinary. That was across the board.”
Hoying was 14-for-25 passing for 175 yards, including a 34-yard scoring strike to Nickleson down the middle in the first quarter. It came after Sheridan took its opening drive 90 yards for a score, capped by Munyan's 14-yard scoring jaunt. Nine of the 10 plays were runs, a sure sign of things to come.
Most of Munyan's yards came after contact.
"It's all about the ability and how you take it, and how well you perform in practice," Munyan said. "It all carries over. We only got better each drive, and that's what took over the whole game. I was always taught to not stop running with my feet. If you want to meet me in the hole, I am going to get more yards than you're going to take away."
--Sam Blackburn, Zanesville Times Recorder
Harvest Prep 20, Columbus Academy 17
Harvest Prep rallied to beat host Columbus Academy in a Division V, Region 19 quarterfinal Oct. 24.
The fifth-seeded Warriors improved to 7-1 and will visit top-seeded Ironton in a semifinal Saturday, Oct. 31.
The win also allowed Harvest Prep to avenge a 20-10 loss to the host Academy on Sept. 4, which ended ended the Warriors’ 38-game league winning streak and propelled the Vikings to the MSL-Ohio Division title at 5-0.
Fourth-seeded Academy closed at 6-2 overall.
Jaylen Jennings scored the winning touchdown on a 4-yard run with 47 seconds remaining. Aidan Rogers' 85-yard completion to Jalen Davis helped set up the score.
“It was a great game,” Harvest Prep coach Milan Smith said. “We knew it would be. These are games we look forward to. We didn’t play smart in the first half, turning the ball over. A lot of dumb mistakes, but at the end the day, our guys came out and we did what we were supposed to do. We played like Warriors. We played four quarters of football.”
Academy took a 17-14 lead with 1:12 left when Brady Hess connected with Sam Huyghe for a 21-yard touchdown.
The only score in the first half came when Hess connected with Huyghe on a 66-yard pass off a flea-flicker for a 7-0 lead.
Harvest Prep took its first lead at 14-7 on third-quarter touchdown runs from Jennings (15 yards) and Rogers (2 yards).
Jennings led the Warriors with 228 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
Davis had two catches for 91 yards.
Hess completed 12 of 25 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a team-high 74 yards on 18 carries.
Huyghe had six catches for 125 yards and two scores.
The Warriors outgained the Vikings 415-245.
“It was tough sledding,” Academy coach Robin Miller said. “We knew it would be on offense. We knew we would have trouble moving the ball against that front and that inside linebacker (Phillip Gibson-Perry). We missed some chances here and there. It was a battle. It could have gone either way.”
HARVEST PREP: 0-0-14-6--20
COLUMBUS ACADEMY: 7-0-0-10--17
CA—Huyghe 66 pass from Hess (Houston kick)
HP—Jennings 15 run (Mungia kick)
HP—Rogers 2 run (Mungiakick)
CA—Houston 37 FG
CA—Huyghe 21 pass from Hess (Houston kick)
HP—Jennings 4 run (kick failed)
Wheelersburg 31, Ready 21
After getting within a field goal midway through the fourth quarter of its Division V, Region 19 quarterfinal Oct. 24 at Wheelersburg, Ready’s rally fell short.
The sixth-seeded Silver Knights lost to the third-seeded Pirates 31-21 to finish 6-3 while Wheelersburg improved to 7-1 and advanced to a regional semifinal.
With 6 minutes, 38 seconds remaining, Ready quarterback Darius Parham connected with Andy Schulze for a 14-yard touchdown to make it 24-21.
The Pirates answered with a 7-yard touchdown run by Kenny Sanderlin with 2:45 left. The Knights moved to the Wheelersburg 6 on the ensuing drive but Parham threw incomplete on fourth-and-2 with 25 seconds remaining.
Midway through the second quarter, the Pirates took a 17-7 lead on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Jake Gregg to Matthew Miller.
Ready cut it to 17-14 on a 3-yard scoring run by Brian Fitzsimmons with 1:07 to go before halftime.
Eli Swords ran for a 2-yard touchdown on the third play of the fourth quarter to extend the Pirates’ lead to 24-14.
Parham finished 12 of 18 for 99 yards with one touchdown and one interception and rushed for 80 yards on 12 carries.
Fitzimmons rushed for two touchdowns but was held to 32 yards rushing on 11 carries. P.J. Daniels had four receptions on offense and 2.5 tackles for loss on defense.
Gregg completed 18 of 22 passes for 139 yards and one touchdown, and Miller had nine catches for 80 yards.
Josh Clark led the Pirates defense with two interceptions, including one on a halfback pass from Tyrese Hudson late in the second quarter.
W—Lattimore 15 run (Sammons kick)
R—Fitzsimmons 4 run (O’Connell kick)
W—Sammons 42 FG
W—Miller 20 pass from Gregg (Sammons kick)
R—Fitzsimmons 3 run (O’Connell kick)
W—Swords 2 run (Sammons kick)
R—Schulze 14 pass from Parham (O’Connell kick)
W—Sanderlin 7 run (Sammons kick)
DeSales 56, Granville 35
Heavy rain and thunderstorms Oct. 23 forced the Division III, Region 11 playoff game between Granville and DeSales to be continued a day later. When play resumed, the visiting Blue Aces got hit with a different kind of deluge.
The Stallions' opportunistic defense triggered 36 consecutive third-quarter points, including three touchdowns in less than three minutes after Granville had taken the lead, as top-seeded DeSales finally shook the eighth-seeded Blue Aces.
The Stallions improved to 6-1 will be host to fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder in a regional semifinalOct. 30. The Pioneers improved to 8-0 with a 14-0 victory over fifth-seeded London on Oct. 24.
"We knew we had to put up a lot of points," DeSales coach Ryan Wiggins said. "We just didn't know it would come from the defense. Granville is so dangerous, and you never feel safe. They have some explosive weapons."
Granville's Keshawn Bonner returned the second-half kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, giving the Blue Aces a 21-20 lead. When Miles Eckenrode then pounced on the ensuing kickoff at the DeSales 30, Granville looked to have all the momentum. But in football, things quickly can change.
Quarterback Blake Rine was sacked on a rollout by DeSales defensive end Jonathan Thompson and fumbled. Matt Stewart scooped it up and went 52 yards for the score. The Stallions led 28-21 lead after quarterback Whit Hobgood connected with Jordan Johnson for the two-point conversion.
"We lost our starting left tackle (280-pound Kam Wright to a second-quarter knee injury), and he was our only lineman over 200 pounds," Granville coach Wes Schroeder said. "Our quarterback didn't see the guy coming off the edge, and that was probably the play of the game. It snowballed on us, and it's hard to rebound against a program like that. They've got some dudes."
"It's a consensus that Jonathan Thompson is one of the best players in the CCL," Wiggins said. "He actually figured in four scores, with two interceptions, a tipped ball that led to another, and the sack. Their screen game is so good. We did a good job of recognizing screens and neutralized them a little bit."
On Granville's next possession, Thompson intercepted his second screen pass and returned it 15 yards for a score. Less than a minute later, Hobgood found Nathan Barber on a 30-yard touchdown strike, and with 9 minutes, 3 seconds still left in the third quarter, the Stallions led 42-21.
Later in the quarter, Thompson tipped another ball that led to a 20-yard interception return by Johnson, and Quintell Quinn scored on an 8-yard run. Thompson's 6-yard run pushed the margin to 56-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
Before the storms hit Oct. 23, Granville took a 7-0 lead after Rine scored on a 14-yard run.
"I was happy with the way our guys responded (when the game resumed)," Wiggins said. "I felt we had some momentum, but then they came and got it right back."
DeSales hadn't played since closing the regular season with a 16-14 victory over Hartley on Oct. 2. The Stallions had a first-round bye for the playoffs and the Oct. 16 game with Wilmington was canceled because of COVID-19 coronavirus issues in the Hurricane's program.
"The worst thing about the layoff, was (Quinn) and (Thompson) came back and ran much harder," Schroeder said. "They're an elite program. Our kids could have come in scared, but they didn't and were ready. I was proud of our guys. We were going up against a heavyweight type of program, and we were able to land some punches, but not quite enough."
--Dave Weidig, Newark Advocate
Massillon Perry 35, Dublin Scioto 10
The team with the train tracks running next to its stadium really started to roll Oct 23.
Then the lightning arrived and torrential rain with it.
Massillon Perry’s Division II, Region 7 quarterfinal against No. 8 seed Dublin Scioto went into delay just as the fourth quarter was to begin.
After an hour and 40 minutes of waiting, the top-seeded Panthers returned to a soggy stadium and finished off a 35-10 win that ended at 11:01 p.m.
Perry senior Joshua Lemon ran for 179 yards on 19 carries through three quarters, at which point the Panthers (8-0) led 28-10 in a penalty-filled performance.
Lemon finished with 191 yards on 22 carries.
Senior Dominic Vinas scored twice, including a 98-yard kickoff return to open the game.
Samuel Thompson, who entered the game with five carries on the season, ran for two touchdowns. He rushed for 64 yards on seven carries overall.
The junior also started at linebacker since senior Owen Wengerd missed the game because of a COVID-19 contact-tracing situation. Thompson grabbed his team-leading fourth interception in the second quarter.
After Canal Winchester got stonewalled (37 yards of total offense) last week by Perry in a 42-0 rout, a more dynamic Scioto offense had some success moving the ball. The Irish totaled 219 yards – 182 through the air – through three quarters.
Scioto showed some life late in the second quarter. Amare Jenkins hit Lesley Andoh on a slant for a 16-yard touchdown with 37.9 seconds left. It was the first touchdown allowed by Perry in 10 quarters.
The Irish deficit was 21-10, with them getting the second-half kickoff.
But Scioto’s opening possession of the third quarter went flat near midfield when Andoh veered backward and settled for an 8-yard loss on a carry.
Scioto punted and never seriously threatened again.
Long before the lightning, the night started with a different kind of flash.
Vinas took the opening kickoff, found a hole in the middle of the field, cut to the right sideline and outran the Irish for a 98-yard touchdown.
The early portions of the game featured a lot of Vinas. He dropped Ed Worthen for a 3-yard loss on third-and-goal, forcing the Irish to settle for a 21-yard Mason Salvator field goal after a long drive.
Late in the quarter, Vinas ran untouched for a 3-yard touchdown. The eight-play, 85-yard drive included a leaping 38-yard catch by Devonte Armstrong on an underthrown ball — Perry’s first of only two pass attempts through three quarters.
Thompson’s interception gave Perry the ball at its own 41 with 6:32 left in the second quarter. After a lot of Vinas and Lemon on the ensuing drive, it was Thompson finishing it off with a 10-yard TD run and a 21-3 Perry lead.
His 3-yard TD run – right after a 29-yard Lemon carry – had Perry up 28-10 in the third quarter.
Sophomore De’Andre Church tacked on a 4-yard touchdown run with 1:24 left to make it 35-10 Perry with only a fraction of the crowd still around.
--Josh Weir, Canton Repository
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Listen to the playoff version of the AM 820 Scoreboard Show with hosts Ryan Baker and ThisWeek managing editor Lee Cochran. Coaches interviewed by the AM820 team were Hartley's Brad Burchfield, DeSales' Ryan Wiggins, Olentangy's Mark Solis, Pickerington Central's Jay Sharrett, DeSales’ Ryan Wiggins, Westerville Central defensive coordinator Mike Banig, Westerville South’s Matthew Christ, Olentangy Liberty’s Steve Hale, Newark Catholic’s Ryan Aiello, Harvest Prep’s Milan Smith and West Jefferson’s Shawn Buescher.