Hartley at DeSales: Hawks, Stallions getting ready for Round 3

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
DeSales' Ayan Comedy makes the stop on Hartley's Nyal Johnson during the visiting Stallions' 16-14 win Oct. 2. DeSales plays host to the Hawks on Friday, Nov. 6, in the Division III, Region 11 final.

Since DeSales and Hartley began playing one another again in 2014 after not meeting since 1987, they’ve split their eight games and 14 points has been the largest margin of victory.

The fact that they’ll enter their latest contest having already played twice in less than two months, combined with how tight those matchups have been, figures to add to the drama that should take place Friday, Nov. 6.

The host and top-seeded Stallions wrapped up the CCL championship with a 16-14 victory over the second-seeded Hawks on Oct. 2, and this time the Division III, Region 11 title is on the line.

DeSales also beat Hartley 24-21 on Sept. 11 en route to winning the league title at 4-1, while Hartley finished 3-2.

The winner advances to a state semifinal Nov. 13 against Hamilton Ross or Kettering Alter.

“There aren’t any secrets or tricks up our sleeves at this point,” Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said. “Both teams have greatly improved as the season has gone on.”

On Oct. 30 in regional semifinals, DeSales improved to 7-1 with a 31-6 victory over fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder and Hartley moved to 6-3 with a 10-6 win over third-seeded Thornville Sheridan.

Although the Hawks scored their only touchdown against the Generals in the first half, Burchfield liked the way his team controlled the clock with its running game.

Senior running back Marcelis Parker carried 36 times for 153 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown late in the second quarter.

The Hawks held the ball for the final 8 minutes, 32 seconds, with senior running back Sumo Kesselly picking up 12 yards in the closing moments to send Hartley into victory formation.

Hartley had two scoring drives of at least 13 plays in the first half and a 17-play drive in the third quarter.

Junior running back Nyal Johnson leads Hartley in rushing with more than 800 yards, and juniors Richard Kenny and Trey Saunders also could get carries against the Stallions.

Sophomore quarterback Erik Underwood has thrown for eight touchdowns but averages fewer than 10 pass attempts per game.

“They had the ball something like 38 minutes (against Jonathan Alder),” Stallions coach Ryan Wiggins said. “That’s what they do. The first time we played Hartley, we only had about 40 snaps. There’s never a scenario where they’re not in four-down territory.

“They’re a team that continues to improve throughout the season. The later it is, the better they play. You see some of their veteran guys like Sumo and Marcelis playing their best football. I’d like to think our guys are playing their best, too.”

Every indication is that that is the case for the Stallions, whose only loss was 35-34 in two overtimes against Watterson on Sept. 18.

In the second matchup against Hartley, DeSales got 118 yards on 12 rushes and an interception from junior Jonathan Thompson and 131 yards rushing on 31 carries from senior Quintell Quinn.

Quinn — who is within 300 yards of breaking the program record for career rushing yards and has 1,051 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season — ran for 179 yards and three scores against Jonathan Alder.

The Stallions have been using senior Whit Hobgood at quarterback throughout the playoffs but also have the option of sophomore Nicky Pentello, who was out with an injury late in the regular season but has returned. 

Pentello threw for a touchdown and rushed for 101 yards on 14 carries in the first game against Hartley but didn’t play in the rematch.

“We need to play better,” Burchfield said. “We didn’t play well enough to beat them either time. We have to play better in every phase of the game. We need to block better, tackle better … just everything.

“The question is how are they going to use their two quarterbacks. Both are really good players and bring something very different and very challenging.”

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

HARTLEY at DeSALES

•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6

•Last meeting: Oct. 2, DeSales 16-14

•Hartley (6-3) to date: Lost to Cincinnati Moeller 34-17; defeated Watterson 28-21; lost to DeSales 24-21; def. St. Charles 49-10; def. Watterson 42-32; lost to DeSales 16-14; def. Mount Orab Western Brown 65-14; def. Dresden Tri-Valley 34-14; def. Thornville Sheridan 10-6

•DeSales (7-1) to date: Def. Watterson 28-22 (OT); def. Mansfield Senior 35-12; def. Hartley 24-21; lost to Watterson 35-34 (2OT); def. St. Charles 48-7; def. Hartley 16-14; def. Granville 56-35; def. Jonathan Alder 31-6

•Top Hawks: Richard Kenny (WR/DB), Nyal Johnson (RB/DB), Sumo Kesselly (RB/LB), Dylan Newsome (LB), Marcelis Parker (RB/LB), Trey Saunders (RB/DB), Tony Thivener (OL/LB), Daniel Tooson (TE/DL) and Erik Underwood (QB)

•Top Stallions: Nathan Barber (WR/DB), Billy Cain IV (OL/DL), Jordan Johnson (WR/DB), Jackson Hartman (OL/DL), Whit Hobgood (QB), Quintell Quinn (RB/LB), Matthew Stewart (TE/DL/LS), Jonathan Thompson (RB/LB) and Jason Velazquez II (WR/LB)