BELOIT, OH- Perhaps one of the most looked at games this week had to have been the third seeded West Branch Warriors, hosting the sixth seeded Ursuline Irish in a dramafield quarterfinal matchup in Division IV region 13. The first scoring drive started out when the Irish did their take on the Philly special as Brady Shannon pitched it to Dante Walker who then pitched it back to Matthew Reardon who found Luke Campbell making it 8-0 after converting the two point conversion.
Ursuline’s next touchdown came during the second when Terrell “TG” Dilworth turned into Barry Allen aka the flash going 70-yards to the house with nobody stopping the Air Force commit. His take off was like a fighter jet putting the Irish up 16-0. But those Warriors, you should never count them out as Brock Hillyer who has been having a good season found Dru DeShields two-yards out cutting the Ursuline lead to 10. The Irish got one more score on the board to make it 24-6 at the half and now the Warriors needed a plan.
That’s when they knew that being aggressive and forcing Trevor Lawrence aka Brady Shannon would come into their favor as Shannon was picked off by Alec Wilson and guess what, he could go all the way and that he did, a 37-yard pick six making it now 24-12.
However, Shannon was not finished yet, as he put that last pass he had behind him and now it was a new set of downs. He would trust Dante Walker to make a spectacular 38-yard over-the-shoulder touchdown making it 32-12. Once again, those Warriors would not go away as Hillyer found DeShields yet again two-yards out, cutting the lead to 13. But then, it was Emmitt Smith, aka DeMarcus McElroy who smelled the end zone and man it was smelling good as he took it in five-yards out extending it 38-19.
West Branch did what they usually do on offense and that is score during crunch time with two touchdowns late in the game. The first was when Hillyer found Nick Wilson for an 11-yard touchdown and then the man would sneak it in himself putting the game to only seven with 2:45 to go and they were back in this. These Warriors were not giving up without a fight, they would not let their winning record be ruined. They would try for the onside kick, but Matthew Reardon would recover, ending the game with a final of 38-31 in a hard fought nearly come from behind win. But, the Irish pulled it off even through the fourth quarter struggle that they had.
Dan Reardon and the Ursuline Irish (6-2) are heading to the regional semifinals to take on the two seeded Poland Bulldogs (7-1) who got a big win Saturday against Chagrin Falls 34-9. A program that seemed to be the laughing stock of Youngstown GRIT football is now back on top, but man those Bulldogs still need to be fed and they are hungry for some Lucky Charms. The game will be played on a spooky Saturday night, October 31st at 7pm on YSN Live.
West Branch (7-1) may have lost in the playoffs, but can still schedule a regular season opponent until week 10 with their choice. The Warriors should pick their heads up after a tremendous season and prepare for another 2021 playoff run.
*Contributed by YSN’s Ian O’Brien*