ASHVILLE – Daniel Burke was like many of his Williamsport Westfall High School teammates Saturday night.
“I was amazed. It was incredible,” the Westfall senior offensive lineman said. “I was glad I could be part of something like that.”
He wasn't the only one.
Westfall senior Seth Hardin amazed the masses at Teays Valley High School by gaining 442 yards on 38 carries as the Mustangs defeated Waverly 48-28 in a Division IV, Region 15 semifinal game. Hardin scored six TDs.
“We made history,” Hardin said.
In more ways than one.
Hardin not only set a school record for most rushing yards in a game, but also landed in the top ten single game rushing efforts in Ohio high school football history. His 442 yards puts the Westfall tailback ninth on the list, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association's web site.
“I don't even know if it's hit me or not,” Hardin said. “I'm still kind of numb. I'll probably start thinking about it tomorrow and it'll hit me then.”
Waverly didn’t hit Hardin very often.
Jason Bainum holds the all-time mark with a 532-yard performance for Williamsburg against Clermont Northeastern in a regular-season game during the 2001 season.
But that was the regular season. This was Week 12.
“I've watched this league for 28 years,” Westfall head coach Scott Keller said about the Scioto Valley Conference. “My dad was a coach, I played in this league and I came back to coach in this league.
“I haven't seen anything like that in my life. It was an amazing performance.”
Hardin powered the Westfall offense during the first half, scoring on runs of three, six, nine and 18 yards. The production allowed Westfall to take a 27-14 halftime lead.
Waverly charged back on the opening possession of the third quarter, using a 26-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Walls to Mason Good to cut the lead to six.
The Tigers captured even more momentum on the ensuing kickoff by pinning the Mustangs on its own four-yard line.
Not so fast.
Hardin broke free of the Waverly defense on the next play for a 46-yard carry out to midfield. After a two-yard keeper by quarterback D.J. Cain, Hardin ripped off 33 more yards and finished the drive with a 15-yard run to pay dirt.
“That was a big turning point for us,” Hardin said.
Even as the carries piled up and the chilly November evening continued to get colder, Hardin still kept at it. He put the game away for the Mustangs on the next drive, gaining 46 yards on five carries, including a three-yard run to the end zone.
“At the end of the third quarter, I was starting to get some cramps and was starting to stretch out,” Hardin said.
No problem when you can run behind an offensive line like the Mustangs have.
The holes continued to open wider and wider as the game wore on. Westfall gained 608 yards rushing as a team on 57 carries, amounting to nearly a 10.6 average per carry.
“In the third quarter we just kept pounding and pounding them,” Westfall senior offensive lineman Colton Dutcher said. “Eventually, they didn't want any more of it.”
Hardin capped the night off late in the fourth quarter with a 70-yard carry to put the Mustangs inside the Waverly 20. Cain took a knee to burn off the last 40 seconds and Hardin dropped to the ground.
“I don't know why but it just kind of hit my emotionally,” Hardin said. “I didn't think I'd ever do that in my life.”
With his emotion spent, Hardin didn't need to walk to the locker room. Burke provided the last carry for Westfall by lifting Hardin into his arms.
“We did some of the work but he did a lot of it,” Burke said. “I had to help him out and carry him off the field.”