Tag Archive for: OHSAA Playoffs

KNIGHTS MARCH ON BACK TO FINAL FOUR

AKRON OH- Hoban showcased their dominance in the Regional Finals, securing a convincing 30-6 victory over Walsh Jesuit and advancing to the State Semifinals.

The first quarter remained scoreless, setting the stage for a second-quarter surge. Xavier Williams ignited the scoring with a 22-yard TD run, putting Hoban up 7-0. “Juice” Tylan Boykin then took the spotlight with a spectacular 74-yard QB TD run, extending the lead to 14-0 just 0:11 before halftime.

The momentum carried into the third quarter as Williams added a 49-yard TD run, pushing the score to 21-0 in favor of Hoban. The Hoban defense joined the scoring party in the fourth quarter, earning a safety for a commanding 23-0 lead. “Juice” Boykin sealed the deal with a 1-yard TD run, and with Jeremy Hammel’s successful extra points, Hoban closed the game at 30-0.

Key players contributed significantly to Hoban’s success, with Caleb Jones leading the ground attack with 113 yards on 17 carries. On the defensive end, Tysen Campbell, Jordan Pritchard-Sewell, and Tanner Mintz made crucial plays, showcasing Hoban’s well-rounded performance.

With this dominant display, Hoban marches on to the State Semifinals, leaving Walsh Jesuit with a 30-6 defeat.

LAKERS FALL IN MOGADORE

Photo Credit: Kelly York Summers Photography

Mogadore, OH- In a hard-fought battle against a very seasoned opponent, the Pymatuning Valley Lakers faced off against the Mogadore Wildcats in the second round of the OHSAA playoffs. The game was filled with thrilling moments and remarkable plays that kept fans cheering from both sides.

The first quarter started with Mogadore’s Cole Reese breaking through the Lakers’ defense, making an impressive 18-yard touchdown run. The extra point was good, putting the Wildcats ahead 7-0. However, the Lakers quickly responded with a 1-yard touchdown run by Ryan Croston and a successful 2-point conversion run by Croston himself, taking the lead at 8-7.

The second quarter saw both teams battling for the lead. Mogadore’s Austin Constantine managed a 2-yard touchdown run, and the 2-point conversion was good, putting the Wildcats ahead 15-8. Mogadore extended their lead with a remarkable 89-yard pass from Kason Jaber to Devin Graham, although the Lakers managed to block the extra point. The score at halftime stood at 21-8 in favor of Mogadore.

The third quarter had its share of challenges for the Lakers, with a fumble that was recovered by Mogadore. Cole Reese of Mogadore added to the Wildcats’ lead with a 36-yard touchdown run and another successful 2-point conversion, making the score 29-8.

The final score reflected the fierce competition, with the Mogadore Wildcats claiming a 29-8 victory over the Pymatuning Valley Lakers. While the Lakers (8-4) may have ended their season with this loss, they can take pride in an impressive season, going undefeated in conference play and outscoring their last six opponents by a significant margin. Juniors Ryan Croston and Ty Vickery, both 1,200-yard rushers, were instrumental in their success. With only one senior on the roster, the Lakers are poised to be a formidable opponent once again in the 2024 season.

The Mogadore Wildcats (10-2) will move on to the Regional Semi-Finals in week 13, where they will face the Mineral Ridge Rams (8-4). While the Lakers’ season may have ended, their future looks promising, and their fans can look forward to more exciting football in the years to come.

NILES’ GARDNER RED HOT IN WIN OVER WARRIORS

Niles, OH- In a 1st round playoff matchup, the Niles Red Dragons came out on top with a resounding victory over the Edgewood Warriors, with a final score of 65-28. The Red Dragons, now boasting a 7-4 record, advance to the second round of the OHSAA playoffs, where they’ll face off against the formidable Mentor Lake Catholic Cougars, who hold a 9-2 record. Unfortunately for the Edgewood Warriors, their season has come to an end following this loss, concluding with a 6-5 record.

The star of the game was undoubtedly Niles’ standout running back, Antuan Gardner, who had a record-breaking performance. Gardner carried the team on his back, rushing for an astounding 471 yards and scoring an incredible 6 touchdowns. His performance ranks among the best in Ohio high school football history, landing him as the 11th all-time leading rusher in the state. Gardner’s incredible feat will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come.

The game itself was a rollercoaster of excitement, with both teams showcasing their offensive prowess. It began with an early hiccup for Niles as Gardner fumbled, and Edgewood capitalized, recovering the ball on the 5-yard line. This mistake led to Edgewood’s first touchdown, a 2-yard pass from Tony Hall to Jacob Ernst. The ensuing extra point by Samuel Linder was good, putting Edgewood ahead 7-0.

However, Niles quickly rebounded with Antuan Gardner leading the way. Gardner scored two 6-yard touchdowns in quick succession, both accompanied by successful extra point attempts, swinging the score to 14-7 in favor of Niles. In the second quarter, Gardner continued to dominate, breaking free for a 44-yard touchdown run, extending Niles’ lead to 21-7.

Edgewood wasn’t backing down, with Tony Hall and Jacob Ernst connecting again for a 2-yard touchdown pass, but Niles’ Anthony Budak answered with a spectacular 60-yard pass to Joe Smith for another Red Dragons touchdown. The score was now 28-14.

As the game progressed, both teams continued to put points on the board. Edgewood’s Tony Hall threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Hunt, while Niles’ Anthony Georgalas nailed a 37-yard field goal, making it 28-45 in Niles’ favor. Antuan Gardner continued to impress, scoring a 1-yard touchdown run and setting a new school record in the process.

The game reached its climax with Niles dominating the third quarter, sealing their victory with a 63-yard touchdown run by Donte Williams and a spectacular 82-yard touchdown run by Gardner. The final score stood at 65-28, securing Niles’ spot in the next round of the playoffs and etching Gardner’s name into the annals of both Niles and Ohio high school football history with 471 yards.

It was a memorable game for the Niles Red Dragons, and their fans will be eagerly anticipating their upcoming clash with the Mentor Lake Catholic Cougars in the next round of the playoffs.

LATE GAME PUSH LIFTS LAKERS OVER REBELS

Photo Credit: Kelly York Summers

Andover, OH- In a electric OHSAA 1st round matchup in Andover, the Pymatuning Valley Lakers took on the Crestview Rebels in a hard-fought battle that would decide their playoff fate. The first half of the game saw both teams locked in a defensive struggle, resulting in no scores in either the first or second quarter.

The game’s turning point came in the third quarter, with 6:41 left on the clock, when Crestview’s Jameson English connected with Joey Carr for a 5-yard touchdown pass, followed by a successful extra point. This put the Rebels ahead 7-0, putting pressure on the Lakers.

However, the Lakers responded with determination, as Ty Vickery powered through the defense for a 1-yard touchdown run, and a successful 2-point conversion put Pymatuning Valley ahead 8-7 with 1:41 left in the third quarter.

As the game entered the fourth quarter, Crestview reclaimed the lead with Max Hawkins 1-yard touchdown run and an extra point, making it 14-8 with 6:25 remaining. But the Lakers weren’t ready to give up. With 2:51 left in the game, Ty Vickery once again proved his worth, scoring a crucial 5-yard touchdown, and a successful 2-point conversion, this time completed by Ryan Croston, put the Lakers ahead 16-14.

The game’s defining moment occurred on that last 2-point conversion when an initially injured Ryan Croston was stopped on the line but pushed across by teammate Ty Vickery, sealing the victory for Pymatuning Valley.

With a final score of Pymatuning Valley 16 – Crestview 14, the Lakers secured their fourth consecutive playoff appearance. The Lakers, now with an 8-3 record, are set to face the Mogadore Hornets (9-2) on the road in the second round of the OHSAA playoffs, while the Crestview Rebels (5-6) concluded their season with this hard-fought loss. It was a memorable and emotional night for the Lakers and their fans as they look forward to the challenges of the postseason.

NO RUST ON THE EAGLES WINGS

Week one of the post-season introduced the rest of the state to the glory of Valley Christian. The War Eagles took to the gridiron Friday night with fire in their hearts ready to explode. They did just that. On the first play from scrimmage Phillip Spradley introduced the Trinity Trojans to Valley football as he popped off a 75-yard touchdown run. The defense then collected their first of many three-and-outs and gave the offense back the ball near midfield. Then once more Phillip Spradley showed off his championship caliber speed as he sprinted to the endzone on another big touchdown run. The touchdown trends would not be an order for one as the sugar was spread around the field with touchdowns coming from Jon’Trell Mixon with two, Ja’SeanLindsey with two, Jhordan Peete with two and VeShun Gurley ended with one. The defense was menacing all night long as they allowed just 44 yards to the Trojans. In comparison, the offense hit 435 total yards with over 300 coming on the ground.

Valley would go on to win the game 53-0 and collected a historic tenth win on the year for just the second time in program history. The 53 points also tied the Eagles for third most points in a game in program history. It was also the teams first playoff win in a decade. Phillip Spradley took home player of the game honors thanks to his two rushing touchdowns for 119 yards on just two carries. He also pulled in a receiving touchdown from 31-yards out. Valley would score all 53-points in the first half of the game.

Head Coach Andy Hake told me before the game that if they are going to compete against the likes of Mogadore and Kirtland that they could not be content to just win the game, they had to look dominant. I would say they looked the part well here in week one of the postseason. They will take on the same team that eliminated them from the playoffs a season ago next week in Cuyahoga Heights. Last year Valley was on the road, but this time around they will be the host down in Spartan Stadium in Boardman.

*Contributed By YSN’s Alek Koberna

URSULINE COMES UP JUST SHORT IT STATE FINAL

CANTON OH- For the first time since 2010, the Ursuline Fighting Irish were back in the state championship and had a chance to get their fifth state title and coach Reardon’s fourth.  However, in order to win that state title, you’d have to go up against a 26th year head coach in Dan McSurley who has five regional championships and was looking for his third after going back to back in 2012 and 13. Beating St. Clairsville and Cardinal Mooney at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. 

 

The Falcons got off to a fast start by running the ball and draining the clock for 9:13 seconds.  They finished their drive by a Carson Van Hoose two-yard touchdown off the hand off from quarterback Kody Zantene, and with a PAT by Ean McGuiness it was 7 to 0.  

 

However, after that, it was all Urusline in the first half.  The Irish got on the board with two DeMarucs McElroy touchdowns.  One from 34-yards and a one-yard score along with a two point conversion by Ty’Req Donlow made it 15 to 7.  When the running game opens up, with Brady Shannon finding Jakylan Irving 39-yards out before the end of the half making it 21 to 7 and at this point, it seemed that Dan Reardon was going to win that fourth title and that Shannon as well as the other seniors in McElroy, Boyd, Pad McCarthy and Dorion would end their season on a high note with a ring.  Even with an overturned call which was originally reviewed a fumble then to an incompletion, the Irish still had the momentum on their side. 

 

However, the second half was a changer.  McElroy couldn’t run much as the defensive line stacked the box and shifted on the Falcons side, led by Colton Trampler who plays on both sides of the ball.  The Irish opened up with a Shannon to Dean Boyd 26-yard touchdown pass making it 28 to 7, but then Clinton Massie came back to the rushing game with the quarterback Zantene taking it himself, breaking through the Irish tacklers and taking it 49-yards making it now 28 to 14. Ursuline was forced to go three and out again after they ruled a Shannon to Boyd pass incomplete which on some parts looked as if Boyd still maintained control before the ball came out.  The Irish also had a fake punt call back from Marc Manning to Boyd which forced the Irish to punt again. 

 

Because of that, the Falcons continued to ground and pound with the running game of Vanhoose, Colton Trampler and Carter Frank.  The Irish defense forced a fumble, but it advanced in the endzone and recovered for a touchdown, cutting it to a seven point lead.  

 

Ursuline was forced to punt after a three and out by the Falcons and Clinton Massie ended using the ground and pound game all the way for six with both Vanhoose and Zantene with the touchdown and two-point conversion making it 29 to 28.  Ursuline had one more chance with 45 seconds, but Shannon was pressured and hit as he let go of the ball, falling incomplete as Clinton Massie, the Falcons, have won their third Division IV State Title in their fourth appearance with the final of 29 to 28 over the Ursuline Irish who just three years ago, had records of one and nine and two and eight, but just come up short in the end. 

 

Irish Stats 

Ursuline: 

 

Shannon: 15 of 28 for 185 yards and two touchdowns.  Nine rushing attempts for 28 yards

 

McElroy: 26 rushing attempts for 157 yards and two touchdowns.  

 

Boyd: six receptions for 69 yards and one touchdowns. 

 

Irving: three receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. 

 

Will Burney: three receptions for 30 yards 

 

Marc Manning: three receptions for 14 yards.

 

Falcons stats 

Clinton-Massie: 

 

Zantene: one of three for one yard, seven rushing attempts for 85 yards and two touchdowns.  

 

Trampler: 19 rushing attempts for 117 yards 

 

Van Hoose: 15 rushing attempts for 102 yards, and a touchdown.  One reception for one yard. 

 

Up Next: 

Both teams will get ready for the offseason with the Ursuline Irish being state runner ups, their second state runner up and start the weight room training sessions soon and get ready for the 2022 campaign. Clinton Massie meanwhile, will win their third state title and will get ready for their 2022 campaign.  Can we see a rematch between these two? Only time will tell.

 

*Contributed by YSNs Ian O’Brien*

 

TIGERS ROAD TO A THIRD STATE TITLE GAME BLOCKED BY CAREY


EUCLID, Ohio –

Attempting to return to the Division VI state title game for the third straight season, Beau Brungard and the Springfield Tigers (13-2) traveled to Euclid Community Stadium to faceoff with the #1 ranked Carey Blue Devils (14-1).

On the shore of Lake Erie, conditions of this ballgame played right into the hands of Carey. Snowfall had accumulated on the field well before play had started and only continued to get worse throughout the night.

Carey’s hardnosed smash mouth brand of football is even more grueling on a defense in the cold. With their gargantuan offensive line clearing holes for their bruising 265 pound back, Jordan Vallejo, Vallejo was able to punish the Tigers second level for much of the night. Carey totaled over 300 yards on the ground, picking up 19 first downs, and controlling the time of possession.

While Carey was moving bodies on the offensive side, they were also wreaking havoc in the Springfield backfield. Although the Tigers scored in the first half thanks to a patented Beau Brungard 80-yard touchdown run, the Tigers failed to pick up a single first down in the half, sending them into the break trailing 13-6.

Coming out of the locker room with the ball, the Tigers looked to put the ball in the air. After a quick three-yard completion to Aaron Groner to start the second half, Springfield was finally able to pick up their first first-down of the ballgame thanks to a defensive pass interference call with Brungard looking to find junior receiver, Seandelle Gardner.

Despite the penalty, the Blue Devils defense would force Beau Brungard into a 4th and short situation that Coach Guerrero would opt to go for it but would see his senior quarterback stopped well shy of the yard to gain. Carey would promptly smash their way down the field and into the endzone to make it a two-score game for the first time of the night.

The ensuing kickoff saw Nick Slike have his second big kickoff return in as many weeks, fielding this one around the 10-yard line before taking it to the Carey 25. A quick hitter to Slike for a gain of 5 followed by a Brungard keeper for 8 saw the Tigers achieve their first traditional first-down with 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter. The very next play, Brungard would keep it around the right edge for the score from 12 yards out.

Carey’s ensuing possession would chew up 5 minutes of clock and end in a touchdown run from 15 yards out thanks to Jordan Vallejo.

Springfield looking to respond with a little over 10 minutes remaining needed to score quickly trailing in this two-possession ballgame. A quick hitter once again to start the drive saw the Tigers pick up a quick first down before Brungard looked to take the top off the Carey defense with a beautiful ball that would sail right through the arms of Jake Joyce. The very next play, Brungard would put the ball on the ground for Carey to recover.

The Blue Devils would pound their way to the goalline before eventually being stopped short of the endzone, but the job had already been done. The Blue Devils chewed up 8 minutes of the fourth quarter clock leaving Springfield with no time to respond and securing Carey’s first state championship appearance since they won it back in 1975.

*Contributed By YSN’s Jamie Thomson

JFK HEADING BACK TO STATE

WARREN OH- The JFK Eagles are making their second trip to the state playoffs in a row! The Eagles had to fight and claw their way through regionals though. It took a narrow 20-13 win in overtime over a scrappy Dalton team that had already upset Lucas to get to this round. Antwan Brown’s interception at the goaline in overtime sealed the win.

Brown had a monster day on the ground for the Eagles. After being held quiet in the first half, he scored both his team’s second half touchdowns on 244 total yards of rushing. Caleb Hadley scored what would end up being the game winning touchdown in overtime from one yard out. The Eagles took just four plays to punch it in.

JFK advances to the state semifinals where they will match up with Newark Catholic. That game will be played at Marlington High School at 7:00 on Saturday.

TIGERS LOCK IN THIRD STRAIGHT TRIP TO FINAL FOUR


SALEM OH- Beau Brungard ran for 252 yards and four touchdowns as the Tigers won their 3rd straight over Mogadore, bringing the Wildcats season to a screeching halt, and delaying their return to the state semifinals.

Making the Springfield Tigers (13-1) so dangerous is not only their ability to strike quickly but the capability of their offense to grind out long sustained drives. Brungard and company put both on display to start the ball game, needing just four plays to go over 70 yards thanks to a 55-yardtouchdown run by Brungard less than two minutes into the night, then, after forcing a Mogadore three and out, Springfield methodically marched 75 yards down the field before Bo Snyder would reach pay dirt to put the Tigers ahead 14-0.

Trying to dig themselves out of a hole, Mogadore (10-3) pounded the rock on their second drive of the night, converting once on third down and twice on fourth. Taking up almost two thirds of the second quarter clock, the Wildcats capped their drive with a Mason Williams touchdown from 1 yard out.

Looking to respond, the Tigers moved the ball into Wildcats territory before coughing it up and allowing Mogadore to take over still trailing by a score. A few more successful Mogadore runs and a deep play action shot over the top put the Cats into scoring position. On fourth down with two yards to pick up the first and the ball resting on the Tigers’ four-yard line, Mogadore picked up their 3rd fourthdown conversion of the half, moving the ball to the oneyard line, later to be finished off with another Mason Williams one yard plunge.

Tied for the first time since less than two minutes into the night, Springfield’s offense would have less than two minutes to work before the end of the half, except, the offense never even stepped onto the field. The ensuing kickoff was lined on the ground, as Mogadore had done all night, and picked up by senior Nick Slike. Slike weaved his way through a few defenders before beating the Wildcats kicker in a foot race to the endzone for a 75-yard house call.

Defensively, the Tigers would come up with back-to-back stops of the Mogadore offense, one to end the first half, the other to start the second, giving the ball back to the offense looking to expand their lead one again. Brungard and company would do just that, finding pay dirt with their own one-yard touchdown run via their versatile quarterback.

Continuing to dominate defensively, the Tigers forced another Wildcat three and out but would see return man, Seandelle Gardner, muff and kick the ball back to the Wildcats right around midfield. Mogadore, as poised of a program as any in the state of Ohio, capitalized on the Tiger turnover for the second time of the night, running their own version of the “Philly Special” to move the difference back to a score.

Springfield would score twice more on the night thanks to a pair of Brungard touchdown runs from 29 and 58 yards out respectively, putting the game on ice, and capturing their third straight Region 21 title.

WHAT’S NEXT

Now back-to-back-to-back Region 21 champions, the Tigers have earned the right to represent in the state final four once again. Back in 2019 the Tigers faced off with the Region 22 representative, the East Knox Bulldogs, a game which would end in blowout fashion in favor of the Tigers, 42-14. Now in 2021, the Tigers will once again square off with a Region 22 champion, this time in the Carey Blue Devils (13-1).

Members of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, the Carey Blue Devils have one state championship in their history, coming way back in 1975. That Blue Devils state champion team was apart of the first state playoff’s overtime anddefeated New Catholic 15-7 at the Rubber Bowl. Scoring on the opening series of overtime, the Blue Devils converted a fake field goal for a two-point conversion before forcing a Newark four and out. Prior to the night, Newark Catholic had not surrendered an offensive touchdown all season long.

The Blue Devils are long removed from their state championship however and will be making their first appearance in the state semifinals of the new century.

The Tigers and Blue Devils are set to face off at Euclid Community Stadium, this Saturday, 7:00 pm. Home to both the Euclid Panthers and Cleveland Benedictine, Euclid Community seats 6500 in a horseshoe style set up and boasts a beautiful video scoreboard.

*Contributed By YSN’s Jamie Thomson

IRISH OFFENSE OVERWHELMS WEST BRANCH


CANFIELD OH- Last season, both of these two powerhouse local programs met for the first time with Ursuline walking away with the final of 38 to 31 in a close matchup.  With two of the best coaches in Dan Reardon and Ken Harris Many thought we’d see the same outcome, but little did they know, what was thought to have turned into a shootout on both sides quickly turned into one sided domination in the Regional Finals.  

 

Remember, the Irish were so close last season, but a loss to Mentor Lake Catholic halted their plans to make it to the State Semis in 2020.  Part of that was the contact tracing incident before that same Friday of last season.  This time however, everyone was healthy and ready to go.   

 

For the Warriors meanwhile, they came in as the first seed and looked to be the second undefeated state title team since the talented Warriors football program from the 1994 season. 

 

West Branch started the game off with a bang when quarterback and cornerback Dru DeShields picked off Brady Shannon going to the Irish 19 yard line.  Three plays later and DeShields finds Nick Wilson in the endzone from 11-yards out making it 7 to 0 Warriors.  

 

The hot Ursuline offense that everyone has seen all year along came back on the first drive however when on a play action, Shannon found the Harvard Commit Dean Boyd in the endzone 46-yards out tying it all at seven. 

 

Wilson and DeShields kept their show rolling, showing chemistry like McNabb and T.O. In the early 2000s with both connecting on a two-yard touchdown making it 14-7. 

 

However after that West Branch score, everything after that became the Ursuline show.  First was an end around sweep by Jakylan Irving who went 37-yards to pader.  After that it became the DMAC, DeMarcus McElroy show with three touchdowns.  One breaking free from the open hole going 42-yards and the other ones being nine and a yard out. 

 

Ursuline continued to run up the score with Shannon getting a three-yard touchdown making it 42-21.  DeShields found Wilson in the endzone again for the touchdown but it was not enough to catch the Irish as a Christian Lynch score put the game on Ice in the fourth quarter with the final score being 64 to 35. 

 

Stats 

DeMarcus McElroy 27-243, three touchdowns in a row

 

Brady Shannon: nine of 15 for 102 yards one touchdown and two interceptions. 

 

Jakylyn Irving  two carries for 45 yards, two receptions for 12 yards. Rushing TD. 

 

Christian Lynch three carries for 44 yards and a touchdown. 

 

Dean Boyd: two receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown.  

 

Steven Marra 13 carries for 72 yards

 

 Dru DeShields 26-35 322 yards four touchdowns and three interceptions.  Rushed 11 times for 30 yards. 

 

Nick Wilson, seven receptions for 116 yards. 

 

Up Next

Third seed Ursuline (10-3) are Regional Final Champions and will play fourth seed Port Clinton (13-1) from region 14 in the State Semis who are coming off of a big 49-21 win against the Van West Cougars who finish their season with a record of 12 and two. 

 

West Branch finishes their season with a 13 and one record, nearly having that undefeated season like the 1994 state champion team, but will have to wait for 2022 to try and accomplish that milestone again. 

 

*contributed by YSN’s Ian O’Brien*