NILES OH- West Branch came in to Saturday night with aspirations of pinching a ticket to the final four. After two seasons of coming to this very round and falling short, there were a lot of people who thought this was the year West Branch would break through. Standing in their way was an up and coming Jefferson team who had already gotten deeper in the playoffs than any team in their program had before. On paper maybe it was a mismatch, but the Falcons never received that memo. They recovered from a fast Warriors start to come back and win a thriller 41-37.
the Warriors started the game with back to back touchdown drives. They were both capped off by 1 yard touchdown runs. Boston Mulinix ran in the first, then Dru DeShields followed him up. In what might have ended up being a difference maker the Warriors went for two both times, and failed to convert both times. What could have been a 16-0 lead was just a 12-0 lead. Those stops gave Jefferson some momentum as they finally got on the board with a Luke Funtash touchdown run from 5 yards out to close out the first frame.
After the first quarter, the two teams would trade touchdowns 3 times. Grant Hitchcock ended that trend though as he took a punt return 75 yards to the house to give the Falcons their second consecutive score. After DeShields would answer with a score of his own, Hitchcock struck again to go ahead for good. This time around he found pay dirt from 65 yards out. Jefferson would go on to win despite being outshined 470 to 348.
Hitchcock ran the ball 20 times for 152 yards on the night. He only needed to pass 9 times, he had 4 completions for 80 yards. Trent Hodge gained 84 yards on the ground for Jefferson.
DeShields went 10/21 on the night with 178 yards, and he ran for 42 more yards to gain over 200 total for the offense. Boston Mulinix did all he could gaining 250 yards on 20 rushes.
Jefferson advances to the State Semifinsls for the first time in team history. They’ll take on Glenville on Saturday at Canal Fulton Northwest High School. Kickoff is slated for 7:00.