Ravenna OH- The West Branch football team looked to continue their playoff success on Saturday when they traveled to the beautiful Portage Community Bank Stadium in Ravenna to take on the 13th seeded Akron Buchtel Griffins. The Warriors were able to walk away with a hard fought 41-33 victory in the Division Four Region 13 bracket . This was a Buchtel football team that was much better than a 13th seed.
The Warriors got the opening kickoff but did not have the football very long when Buchtel forced a fumble. The Griffins were able to capitalize when Stevie Diamond found receiver Demetrice Coats for a 7 yard touchdown. However, West Branch answered right back when Boston Mulinix exploded for a 17 yard run and found the end zone. Coach Cooper decided to go for 2 but it was no good. Buchtel fired right back scoring yet another touchdown making the score 14-6.
After a Warrior three and out, the punt was mishandled giving Buchtel great field position. That tough hard nosed Warrior defense stepped up holding Buchtel to just three points. The score was 17-6 but that’s when everything changed. The very next drive, Dru Deshields led the Warriors right down the field and scored on a 13 yard quarterback keeper. This time they were able to convert on the 2-point conversion. West Branch then scored again on yet another run from Deshields making the score 21-17. Finally, with little time left in the half Deshields threw a 50 yard bomb to receiver Joey Jackson increasing the lead to 28-17 at halftime.
Coming out of halftime, the Warriors wasted no time scoring yet again creating a comfortable 34-17 lead. Buchtel continued to fight and quarterback Stevie Diamond was special when he unloaded a 79 yard spectacular throw on the run for the touchdown. West Branch scored again, but Buchtel answered right back. The lead was now 41-31 until Buchtel forced a safety on another Warrior mishandled punt. The game was getting dicey with that 41-33 score but on 4th down Diamond threw a pass that was caught in the endzone and unfortunately, the Buchtel receiver was ruled out of bounds. West Branch was able to survive a late fourth quarter scare.
West Branch will take on sixth seeded Jefferson Area next Saturday at Bo Rein Stadium in Niles next Saturday. West Branch will be playing in their fourth Regional Championship in school history after making it there last year and losing to eventual State Runner up Ursuline. Saturday the Warriors will look to win the big game and make it to State for the first time since 1994 when they won the State Championship.
Dru Deshields: 33/48, 403 YDS, 3 TDS
Boston Mulinix: 14 CAR, 75 YDS, 1 TD
Dru Deshields: 12 CAR, 75 YDS, 2 TDS
Joey Jackson: 6 REC, 101 YDS, 1 TD
Chrisitan Martig: 12 REC, 169 YDS, 2 TDS
*Contributed By YSN’s Michael Ginocchi