Friday Night Live roundup: Postseason Week 4 recaps

ThisWeek Sports Staff
ThisWeekSPORTS.com

Pickerington Central 38, Westerville Central 7

Boosted by a pair of first-half fumble recoveries, top-seeded and host Pickerington Central had little trouble earning its fifth consecutive Division I regional championship Oct. 30.

In a matchup with third-seeded Westerville Central for the Region 3 title, the Tigers sealed a 38-7 victory with an 86-yard touchdown run by Garner Wallace in the third quarter and a 2-yard scoring run by Nick Mosley on the first play of the fourth period. 

Reece Brancifort celebrates after Central recovered a fumble by Westerville Central quarterback Judah Holtzclaw during the Tigers' 38-7 win in the Division I, Region 3 final Oct. 30. The Tigers play Mentor on Friday, Nov. 6, in a state semifinal at New Philadelphia.

The Tigers improved to 10-0 and will play Mentor on Nov. 7 in a state semifinal, while the Warhawks finished 7-2.

"It feels pretty good," Mosley said. "We wanted to get that fifth (consecutive regional title). We've got a lot of experience and we've been working for this."

The Tigers took a 7-0 lead on a 6-yard run by Wallace with 6 minutes, 55 seconds to go in the first quarter. They began the drive at the Warhawks' 36 after Dakari Frazier recovered a fumble caused by Reece Brancifort.

Westerville Central tied it at 7 on a 10-yard run by Judah Holtzclaw on the second play of the second quarter.

A fumble recovery by the Tigers' Tyler Gillison near midfield, however, set up the Tigers’ second touchdown, a 17-yard run by Wallace with 3:09 left in the second period.

Pickerington Central made it 21-7 on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Wallace – who was under heavy pressure – to Sirron Smith with 1:34 to go before halftime. 

"Throughout the whole game we stayed as a team," Smith said. "No matter what, we kept pushing."

Wallace finished with 131 yards rushing on nine carries and Mosley had 90 yards on 23 carries and a 16-yard reception.

Michael Ross led the Warhawks with 97 yards on 17 rushes.

"It was a phenomenal class of kids, and every year they've kind of elevated the program," Warhawks coach Brent Morrison said. "They should be very proud of what they've done. We did some things that you can't do against a good team."

–Jarrod Ulrey

WESTERVILLE CENTRAL: 0-7-0-0–7

PICKERINGTON CENTRAL: 7-14-10-7–38

PC-Wallace 6 run (Vollmer kick)

WC-Holtzclaw 10 run (Giammarco kick)

PC-Wallace 17 run (Vollmer kick)

PC-Smith 54 pass from Wallace (Vollmer kick)

PC-Vollmer 21 FG

PC-Wallace 86 run (Vollmer kick)

PC-Mosley 2 run (Vollmer kick)

====

Hartley's Sumo Kesselly (7) follows the blocking lead of Dylan Newsome (12) on a run against Sheridan during the fourth quarter of their Division III postseason game at Hartley on Oct. 30. The Hawks won 10-6.

Hartley 10, Thornville Sheridan 6

Hartley spent most of its game against Thornville Sheridan with two and sometimes three running backs in the backfield, leaning on a patient ground attack and mostly tight formations.  

Behind the bruising inside running of 240-pound tailback Marcelis Parker and their defense, the second-seeded and host Hawks defeated the third-seeded Generals 10-6 in a Division III, Region 11 semifinal Oct. 30. 

Hartley, which improved to 6-3 and advanced to play top-seeded DeSales on Nov. 6 for a berth in a state semifinal, chewed up the final 8:32 with a drive that started at its own 25. Sheridan forced a fourth-and-2 with 2:26 left at Hartley’s 34-yard line, but Parker broke free for a 4-yard gain. Two plays later, 210-pound Sumo Kesselly broke free for 12 to seal it. 

The drive, which spanned 13 plays before three kneel downs, was emblematic of the Hawks' play. Coach Brad Burchfield called it "the best game we have played all season" and said his offense carried the burden. 

Parker finished with 36 carries for 153 yards, including the go-ahead 10-yard touchdown run with 1:25 left before halftime. Hartley twice converted fourth downs on the drive, which was 13 plays and 76 yards, and came after Sheridan took a 6-3 lead on Josh O'Ryan's 5-yard touchdown pass to Landen Russell. 

Sheridan, which finished 8-1, got only three more drives the rest of the game, all resulting in punts. 

"This wasn't the defense. Even though we only scored 10 points, it was the offense that won this game," Burchfield said. "The offense just held the ball the whole time. We went in saying we were going to give every ball to Marcelis and Sumo and try to wear them down, because (Sheridan) is so physical. Our philosophy has always been the more physical the team, you have to match their physicality. You can't try to not run it. That's what they want. You have to win the line of scrimmage." 

How effective was the Hawks' plan? They ran 33 plays to Sheridan’s 16 in the first half, had two scoring drives of at least 13 plays and attempted only three passes. In the second, Hartley had a 17-play drive that ate up most of the third quarter, then another to salt away the game. 

The sturdily built Parker was usually the weapon of choice for Hartley, employing his bruising, but nimble style to churn out short to medium gains. They often led to safe down-and-distance situations, which allowed his team to keep the chains moving and Sheridan's high-powered offense on the sideline. 

The tone was set on the game's opening drive, when the Hawks drove 72 yards in 16 plays and ate 9:19 off the clock. It netted a field goal, but the plan became obvious. 

"We said going in we were going to cheer every 2- and 3-yard gain," Burchfield said.  

Despite their execution, it was still just 10-6. 

Hartley had a chance to push the lead to seven with a field goal after its long third-quarter drive reached the Generals’ 2. Burchfield, like he did most of the game on fourth down, elected to go for more. True to form, linebacker Shay Taylor made a big stop at a critical moment, making a tackle inches short of the goal line to keep the deficit at four points. 

Two plays later, a Tyler Talbot catch-and-run netted 29 yards, and O’Ryan found a leaping Logan Ranft along the sideline for 16 more to reach Hartley’s 48. But a short Jason Munyan run and two incompletions followed, leading to a punt. 

And that was it. 

"I was way too conservative and that's all on me with the play calling," Sheridan coach Paul Culver III said, lamenting not throwing more on early downs. "I knew we had to stay balanced and I wasn't. Our first series was an example of that. We scored on a short field, obviously, but it was the play calling, plain and simple. The kids played hard and made plays when I gave them a chance. ... I have to get ahead of the chains and be a better play caller." 

Culver wasn't surprised by Hartley's game plan. He said the game of keep-away played a role in the offense's lack of rhythm.  

"They wrote that script and that's outstanding coaching and execution on their part," Culver said. "That's their script. They knew exactly what it was. When we got to the 50 we still had a chance. And then the play calling got us. We got stuffed on first down. 

Burchfield's reward for beating an unbeaten is another date with the Stallions, his team’s third in 2020. But that is for next week. Meanwhile, he’s relishing this one. 

"They had a great team," Burchfield said. "We had to play our best. No question. They beat the (crap) out Watterson. That game wasn't even that close. And Watterson put 30 on us." 

–Sam Blackburn, Zanesville Times Recorder

====

Springfield's Kendel Dolby tackles Olentangy Liberty's Camden Barcus during the teams' Division I regional final Oct. 30 at Springfield. Springfield won 19-0.

Springfield 19, Olentangy Liberty 0

SPRINGFIELD – Quarterback Te’Sean Smoot was 24-for-36 passing for 356 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third score as third-seeded and host Springfield defeated fourth-seeded Olentangy Liberty 19-0 on Oct. 30 in the Division I, Region 2 final.

The Tigers improved to 8-1 and won their second consecutive regional championship. They advanced to play Cincinnati St. Xavier on Nov. 6 in a state semifinal after the Bombers defeated West Chester Lakota West 10-7 in the Region 4 final Oct. 30.

On Springfield’s first play from scrimmage, Smoot connected with Benjamin Van Noord on a 41-yard pass and the Tigers were off and running. They scored 19 points in the first half and their defense did the rest, as Liberty was limited to just 71 yards of total offense in the first half and 192 overall.

“Our kids did a good job of prepping all week and they came out and executed in the first half,” Springfield coach Maurice Douglass said. “We’re the No. 1 defense in our conference, and we expect to do that. We knew if we could stop the run and make them have to throw the ball, we would be successful.”

Liberty had just 48 yards rushing in the first half on 11 carries and finished with 137 yards on 28 attempts. Starting running Aidan Kenley rushed for 21 yards on nine carries and left the game with a wrist injury, and backup Stephen Dirksmeier ran for 88 yards on eight carries.

Quarterback Mitch Fields ran for 22 yards on eight carries and was 9-for-28 passing for 55 yards with one interception.

“We had a tough time blocking their defensive line and when they didn’t have to adjust, it just made us have to work harder,” said Liberty coach Steve Hale, whose team finished 8-2. “We could find the right things here and there and couldn’t get it going.”

The Patriots forced three turnovers as Drew Thornton had an interception and a fumble recovery, and Dom Magistrale had an interception.

Van Noord had seven catches for 143 yards and one touchdown for the Tigers, and Anthony Brown had six receptions for 95 yards and one score.

–Scott Hennen

OLENTANGY LIBERTY: 0-0-0-0--0

SPRINGFIELD: 7-12-0-0-19

S–Smoot 3 run (Yost kick)

S–Van Noord 32 pass from Smoot (kick failed)

S–Brown 15 pass from Smoot (kick failed)

====

Olentangy's Jace Middleton picks up yardage before being tackled by Massillon Perry's Devonte' Armstrong (7) and Camron Hall (11) uring the teams' Division II postseason game at Perry on Oct. 30. The Braves lost 14-10.

Massillon Perry 14, Olentangy 10

MASSILLON — Olentangy coach Mark Solis repeated the phrase to himself and his team Oct. 30 after a 14-10 loss at top-seeded Massillon Perry in a Division II, Region 7 semifinal.

“We did everything but win the game,” Solis said.

The fourth-seeded Braves ran 40 plays to the Panthers’ 12 in the second half, advanced to the Perry 9-yard line twice and came inches from an upset on a would-be game-winning touchdown pass as time expired.

Kaden Doup’s 9-yard pass to Jace Middleton on fourth-and-3 momentarily appeared complete, but Cayman Williams jarred the ball loose at the moment of the catch to end the Braves’ season at 6-3 and advance Perry into a regional final against crosstown rival Massillon on Nov. 6.

“They made one or two more plays than we did,” Solis said. “We had a great game plan and a great week of practice. We knew what we were getting ourselves into. I’m proud of the effort. They just made one more play than we did.”

Olentangy also appeared to have first-and-goal from the 9 with just over four minutes left, but Landon Johnson fumbled at the end of a 15-yard run and Perry recovered. 

Still, the Braves forced their third 3-and-out of the second half and advanced into the red zone on a screen pass to Middleton that went for 43 yards.

Perry, which improved to 9-0, opened the game with a 90-yard kickoff return for a score from Dominic Vinas.

Olentangy tied it in the final minute of the first quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run by Ethan Hand, but the Panthers answered with a 13-play, 60-yard drive culminating in a 1-yard touchdown run by Josh Lemon.

Hayden Olcott’s 42-yard field goal to end the first half hit the right upright but took a fortunate bounce and ultimately became the last points of the game.

“We were outsized and out-athleted like usual but we played hard,” Perry coach Keith Wakefield said. “They played the same fronts in the second half but we didn’t block very well. Nothing really changed. It’s good to still be playing.”

–Dave Purpura

OLENTANGY: 7-3-0-0 --10

MASSILLON PERRY: 7-7-0-0--14

MP–D. Vinas 90 kick return (Warstler kick)

O–Hand 2 run (Olcott kick)

MP–Lemon 1 run (Warstler kick)

O–Olcott 42 FG

====

DeSales teammates celebrate after defeating Jonathan Alder 31-6 in the teams' Division III regional semifinal at DeSales on Oct. 30.

DeSales 31, Jonathan Alder 6

Top-seeded DeSales established the run and played effective defense to rout fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder 31-6 in a Division III, Region 11 semifinal Oct. 30.

The host Stallions improved to 7-1 and advanced to the regional final Nov. 6 at home against Hartley, while the Pioneers fell to 8-1. 

It will be the third meeting this season between DeSales and Hartley, with the Stallions winning 24-21 on Sept. 11 and 16-14 on Oct. 2. 

“We ran the football really well. We ran it well all night,” DeSales coach Ryan Wiggins said. “The combination of (Quintell Quinn and Jonathan Thompson) was what we wanted it to be.” 

The game was scoreless until Quinn scored on a 7-yard run with 43 seconds remaining in the first quarter, and he added a 50-yard touchdown run and J.J. Baughman kicked a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter for a 17-0 halftime lead. 

Quinn would rush for another 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter to make it 24-0 before the Pioneers scored their only points on a 49-yard pass from J.T. Keith to Tyson Mast. 

The Stallions then closed the scoring on Thompson’s 75-yard run.

“You’re not going to see two better running backs on any team in the state,” Jonathan Alder coach Brett Glass said. 

Quinn carried 22 times for 179 yards and Thompson ran 10 times for 126 yards as the Stallions finished with 355 of their 408 total yards on the ground. 

Quarterback Whit Hobgood completed seven of 10 passes for 53 yards, and Nathan Barber caught two passes for 33 yards. 

For Jonathan Alder, Keith completed 16 of 31 passes for 194 yards with an interception, Will Heisler carried 13 times for 49 yards and Jonathan Keith caught five passes for 84 yards. 

“I thought we did just enough to keep them off balance,” said Wiggins, whose defense held the Pioneers to 277 yards of total offense. “They hit some plays, but we were able to keep them out of the end zone. I’m really proud of our guys.”

“Our kids battled,” Glass said. “We had a couple drives where we didn’t come up with points and we left some plays out there, but our guys played their hearts out. I can’t blame them for anything.”

–Stephen Borgna

DESALES: 7-10-14-0--31

JONATHAN ALDER: 0-0-6-0--6

D–Quinn 7 run (Baughman kick)

D–Quinn 50 run (Baughman kick)

D–Baughman 40 FG 

D–Quinn 1 run (Baughman kick)

JA–Mast 49 pass from Keith (two-point conversion failed)

D–Thompson 75 run (Baughman kick)

====

Massillon Washington defensive back Isaiah Clark breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Westerville South wide receiver Javi'er Wills in the fourth quarter of the teams' Division II postseason game Oct. 30 at Washington. South lost 45-36.

Massillon Washington 45, Westerville South 36

MASSILLON — Westerville South saw its season come to an end with a 45-36 loss to Massillon Washington in a Division II, Region 7 semifinal Oct. 30 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

The third-seeded Wildcats finished 7-1.

Second-seeded Massillon improved to 8-1 and will visit top-seeded Massillon Perry for the regional final Nov. 6. Perry defeated fourth-seeded Olentangy 14-10 in the other semifinal.

South struck quickly on Peter Pedrozo’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Kaden Saunders, capping a 60-yard drive on its first possession for a 6-0 lead after the extra point failed.

Massillon took its first lead at 7-6 on Jamacius Portis’ first of two 2-yard touchdown runs in the opening half.

Matthew Bame’s 32-yard field goal gave South its final lead at 9-7 before the Tigers scored the final two touchdowns of the half.

Willtrell Hartson broke free for a 53-yard scoring run and Portis recorded his second touchdown for a 21-9 lead at halftime.

The Wildcats drove deep into Massillon territory twice late in the first half, but came up empty each time.

“They’re a hell of a team,” South coach Matthew Christ said. “The first half we missed a couple of opportunities for scores. Put it on my shoulders (in terms of) clock management at the end of the half. I probably should have kicked a field goal. They’re a hell of a program. There’s a reason they’ve been to the last two state title games.”

Hartson rushed for 198 yards on 16 carries in the first half and finished with a program-record 324 yards and three touchdowns on 27 attempts.

Pedrozo completed 25 of 48 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns and added a 48-yard touchdown catch from Bame in the fourth quarter. Saunders had nine catches for 169 yards and two scores.

South outscored Massillon 27-3 in the fourth quarter and finished with 504 yards to 454 for Massillon.

–Frank DiRenna

WESTERVILLE SOUTH: 6-3-0-27--36

MASSILLON WASHINGTON: 7-14-21-3-45 

WS–Saunders 4 pass from Pedrozo (kick failed)

MW–Portis 2 run (Bauer kick)

WS–Bame 32 FG

MW–Hartson 53 run (Bauer kick)

MW–Portis 2 run (Bauer kick)

MW–Johnson 72 pass from Catrone (Bauer kick)

MW–Hartson 54 run (Bauer kick)

MW–Hartson 25 run (Bauer kick)

WS–Armstrong 2 run (pass failed)

WS–Pedrozo 48 pass from Bame (Bame kick)

MW–Bauer 37 FG

WS–Armstrong 3 run (pass failed)

WS–Saunders 27 pass from Pedrozo (Armstrong run)

====

Ironton 21, Harvest Prep 14

In a matchup of teams that went deep into the playoffs a year ago, fifth-seeded Harvest Prep gave top-seeded Ironton all it could handle Oct. 31 in a Division V, Region 19 semifinal.

The host Fighting Tigers, who were state runners-up last season in Division V while the Warriors were state semifinalists in Division VII, took a two-touchdown lead in the third quarter and held on 21-14.

Ironton improved to 9-0 and will play host to second-seeded West Lafayette Ridgewood in a regional final.

Harvest Prep finished 7-2.

An interception by Trent Hacker during the final three minutes sealed the victory.

The margin was the closest the Tigers have had this season and only the second time the outcome wasn't by at least 41 points.

Ohio State recruit Reid Carrico rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns to lead Ironton.

Jaylen Jennings rushed for a 29-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and quarterback Aidan Rogers hit Jalen Davis for a 28-yard touchdown in the final period.

–Jarrod Ulrey

HARVEST PREP: 7-0-0-7–14

IRONTON: 7-7-7-0–21

I–Carrico 3 run (Mahlmeister kick)

HP–Jennings 29 run (Mullens kick)

I–Carrico 2 run (Mahlmeister kick)

I–Carpenter 27 run (Mahlmeister kick)

HP–Davis 28 pass from Rogers (Mullens kick)