Friday Night Live: DeSales, Hartley prepare for 'unprecedented' third contest
When fall contact sports were approved to begin competition, the four-member CCL decided to have a series of home-and-home matchups between its football programs to make sure they would come as close as possible to having a six-game regular season.
It became clear early on that the setup also could create something new: The possibility of teams playing for a third time in the same season.
That will happen Friday, Nov. 6, when top-seeded DeSales plays host to second-seeded Hartley in the Division III, Region 11 championship game.
“It is unprecedented and to do it in this amount of time … we played a month ago and we played three weeks before that,” Stallions coach Ryan Wiggins said. “The last time, the league title was at stake. This time, the regional championship is at stake. Those games have gone down to the wire.”
The winner plays in a state semifinal Nov. 13.
Since 2014 when Wiggins and Hartley's Brad Burchfield went against one another as head coaches for the first time, the teams have split their eight meetings and every matchup has been within 14 points.
The Stallions beat the Hawks 24-21 on Sept. 11 and then won the rematch 16-14 on Oct. 2 to capture the CCL championship at 4-1, while Hartley went 3-2.
DeSales beat fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder 31-6 in a regional semifinal Oct. 30 to improve to 7-1 overall, and Hartley defeated third-seeded Thornville Sheridan 10-6 the same night to improve to 6-3 overall.
Marcelis Parker rushed for 153 yards to help the Hawks control the clock against Sheridan. He also scored Hartley's touchdown.
Against Jonathan Alder, Quintell Quinn rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries and Jonathan Thompson had 10 rushes for 126 yards and one score.
“It’s been quite a season — very, very difficult but very, very gratifying," Burchfield said. “Both teams have greatly improved as the season has gone on. Most importantly, we’ve both created and solidified identities within our teams and that’s critical this deep in the playoffs.”
•The other Central District programs still alive in the playoffs are Pickerington Central in Division I, Bloom-Carroll in Division IV and Newark Catholic in Division VII.
While Newark Catholic will play Shadyside for the Region 27 title and Bloom-Carroll will face St. Clairsville for the Region 15 title, top-seeded Central beat third-seeded Westerville Central 38-7 on Oct. 30 for the Region 3 championship.
The Tigers will play Mentor in a state semifinal Friday, Nov. 6, at New Philadelphia.
It marks the third time in four seasons that Central will face Mentor. The Tigers beat the Cardinals 56-28 in the 2017 state championship game and 28-21 in a state semifinal last season on their way to another title.
The Central-Mentor winner plays Cincinnati St. Xavier or Springfield for the state championship Nov. 13 at a site to be announced.
While the Cardinals are 9-1, Central is 10-0 for the first time since 2014 and has won 21 in a row overall.
“Sixty days ago, we didn’t know if we were going to play six games and now we’ve just played our 10th game,” Tigers coach Jay Sharrett said. “We were fortunate enough to win it and now hopefully if everything goes right (this) week, we’ll get to play (12) games.”
Quarterback Garner Wallace rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns, including an 86-yarder in the third quarter, and Nick Mosley had 90 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries against Westerville Central.
In Mentor’s 49-14 win over Medina for the Region 1 title, quarterback Ian Kipp completed 12 of 16 passes for 194 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 66 yards and two scores on 10 carries. He was the Division I state co-Offensive Player of the Year last fall.
The area’s other Division I regional finalist was Olentangy Liberty, which lost to third-seeded Springfield 19-0 on Oct. 30 in the Region 2 title game.
Last shut out in their 2018 opener, the fourth-seeded Patriots were held to 192 yards of offense as quarterback Mitch Fields completed nine of 28 passes for 55 yards and was intercepted once. Running back Aidan Kenley, who finished the season with 1,038 yards and 17 touchdowns, was held to 21 yards on nine carries.
Liberty, which was in its fourth regional final in five seasons, finished 8-2.
•Area teams that had their seasons end in regional semifinals were Olentangy and Westerville South in Division II and Harvest Prep in Division V.
On Oct. 30 in Region 7, fourth-seeded Olentangy (6-3) lost 14-10 at top-seeded Massillon Perry and third-seeded South (7-1) lost 45-36 at second-seeded Massillon Washington.
Neither team in the Olentangy-Perry matchup scored during the second half, but the Braves advanced inside the Panthers’ 10-yard line twice. Olentangy quarterback Kaden Doup’s 9-yard pass to Jace Middleton on fourth-and-3 nearly went for a touchdown on the game’s final play, but the ball was jarred loose.
South outscored Massillon 27-3 in the fourth quarter but couldn’t complete the comeback after falling behind 42-9.
Fifth-seeded Harvest Prep lost 21-14 on Oct. 31 at top-seeded Ironton in Region 19.
The Fighting Tigers, who were last year’s state runners-up, improved to 9-0 while the Warriors finished 7-2.
Harvest Prep was a state semifinalist in Division VII last season but showed it was ready for the move up, giving Ironton its closest game of the season.