D-I Regional Quarterfinals: Colerain, Northmont among teams that escape with wins


Division I Playoffs

There were several solid showings by Division I teams Saturday in the
regional quarterfinals. Among the winners were Colerain, Glenville, Pickerington Central, Cleveland St. Ignatius and Worthington Kilbourne.

There were several solid showings by Division I teams Saturday in the
regional quarterfinals. Among the winners were Colerain, Glenville,
Pickerington Central, Cleveland St. Ignatius and Worthington Kilbourne.

Region 1
Cleveland St. Ignatius 37, Lakewood St. Edward 0
Strongsville 35, Euclid 28
Mentor 31, Willoughby South 2
Cle. Glenville 35, Brecksville-Broadview Hts. 8

Region 2
North Canton Hoover 14, Massillon Washington 7
Canton GlenOak 14, Canton McKinley 7
Brunswick 14, Macedonia Nordonia 10
Twinsburg 20, Amherst Steele 11

Region 3
Hilliard Davidson 38, Grove City 7
Upper Arlington 28, Marysville 16
Pickerington Cent. 38, Delaware Hayes 21
Worthington Kilbourne 14, Columbus Brookhaven 6

Region 4
Cincinnati Colerain 17, Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller 10
Clayton Northmont 28, Kettering Fairmont 27
Cincinnati Elder 52, Centerville 27
Huber Heights Wayne 52, Cincinnati Woodward 0

Colerain survives Moeller upset bid
By Matt Knapke, Contributor

Colerain junior linebacker Tyon Dixon’s 88-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown was the difference in a hard fought 17-10 victory over Moeller in a Division I first round playoff game at Cardinal Stadium.

The pivotal turnover came with 7:23 remaining with Moeller driving towards a potential tie-breaking score. The play was the highlight of the game and underscored two critical turnovers in the fourth quarter that took Moeller out for good.

Colerain (10-1) will play Huber Heights Wayne in a regional semifinal game to be played at University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium. Official pairings will be announced Sunday by the OHSAA.

Colerain has now defeated Moeller in five of their last six post-season appearances.

The game-winning play appeared to have gone either way as Dixon recovered the ball when the play appeared to be over. Moeller coach John Rodenberg thought that Crusader back Jeff Aubin was down before the ball came out, after he caught a screen pass from quarterback Andrew Hendrix.

There is no video replay in high school football, so the play could not be reviewed.

Moeller had been slowly gaining offensive momentum against a stout Colerain defense in the second half. The Crusaders were driving at the Colerain 24 yard line, before Dixon’s fumble recovery.

Kicker Corey Smith kicked a 22-yard field goal was the result of a drive in which Moeller converted two fourth-downs rushing early in the third quarter. Aubin’s touchdown run tied the game at 10-10 with 10:31 left in the game.

Colerain defensive back Cole Pasquale sealed the win with an interception of a Hendrix pass with four minutes left in the game.

The Cardinals ran behind quarterback Greg Tabar, the game’s leading rusher who ran for 53 yards on 18 carries. He was 1-of-2 for 17 yards passing.

Colerain only amassed 146 yards of total offense, well under their season average of 333 yards per game. They ran 45 times for 129 yards on the ground.

Colerain’s defense held Hendrix to 13-of-28 for 122 yards passing, forcing him to miss open receivers throughout the game while not allowing the quarterback to get in a rhythm. They also held Moeller to 85 yards rushing on 31 attempts.

Colerain got the game’s first points on a Jordan Ross 22-yard field goal. Junior defensive back Jovanta Harrison blocked a Moeller punt that was recovered at the 8-yard line to set up the score.

Tabar scored on a 2-yard quarterback sneak through the line to put Colerain up 10-0 with 8:00 left in the third quarter. Tabar had broken a 35-yard run and completed his pass to wide receiver Ryan Foster to set up the fourth-down touchdown run.

Clayton Northmont edges Kettering Fairmont, blocked PAT seals the deal
By Alex Sator

CLAYTON – Northmont (10-1, 5-0 GWOC-C) edged Fairmont, 28-27, in a thrilling OHSAA Division I first round playoff game Saturday night at Good Samaritan Field.
Senior LB Danny Gress blocked what would have been the game-tying extra-point (with his face mask), following Fairmont’s 20-play, 72-yard desperation drive in the final moments of regulation play.

“Coach Dad (Northmont’s legendary assistant coach, Mike Schneider) set that play up for me to break through the middle,” said Gress after the game. “He always tells the special teams that if we have a chance to make a play we had better make it.

“So, I made the play. But I also know that I was put into position to make that play. I recognize that and I’m all about the team.”

Mark Mays ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns (on just 12 carries) for the T-Bolts. He also scored two, 2-point conversions in a game where every point mattered.

“In my first playoff game (2002) as a coach it was the exact same situation,” Firebird head coach Brian Blevins lamented. “Except we went for two with under a minute left and we got it. I was coaching at East Palestine and we were playing Black River. We won that game 23-22.

“Tonight? We kicked, and you saw what happened. It was a tough decision. We were going to go for two if they didn’t guard it well. We decided that on the drive down here. We kicked. You know, hindsight is easy. If we go for it and we don’t get it then I’m a goat.”

To suggest that the kicking game might have been the most important determining factor concerning the outcome of this contest would be the understatement of the year.

Please, allow me to explain.

Fairmont (7-4, 3-2 GWOC-C) lined the game’s opening kick off of an unsuspecting  Northmont player and they recovered the ball near midfield. Six plays and 52 yards later Marc Pedro hit Brendon Cunningham on an 18-yard crossing pattern for a touchdown.

The extra point kick was blocked.

FYI: Northmont lines up two of the faster return men in the state in junior DB Quintin Cooper and senior DB (and Ohio State recruit) C. J. Barnett. So, the opening kickoff was intended to avoid them at all costs—not to yield a fumble recovery.

The Firebirds’ second kickoff was the same kind of deal, but it ended up yielding a 78-kickoff return touchdown for the T-Bolts’ Josh McClain.

This extra point kick was blocked, too.

“I’m thankful,” head coach Lance Schneider laughed after the game. “I’m really, really, thankful–how about that? We, uh, even blocked the kickoff. That wasn’t a great way to start the game, was it? Then we returned the next kickoff for a touchdown.

“So, we didn’t run any offensive plays for a long, long time and I was starting to get a little bored. As you know, I get nervous when we don’t have the ball.”

At 1:03 of the first quarter Pedro scored on a 4-yard quarterback keeper. The successful two-point conversion made the score: Fairmont 14, Northmont 6.

Late in the second quarter, a beautiful Derek Reynolds punt was downed by Barnett on the four-yard line.

Five plays later the Firebirds shanked (verb, ‘to shank’) a ten-yard punt; and at 1:54 of the first half, Mark Mays spanked them for it with a five-yard touchdown run.

The conversion—i hope you are seeing a pattern—was  unsuccessful.

The T-Bolts forced another quick punt, and eight plays later Chase Belton led C. J. Taylor for  a beautiful 19-yard diving reception in the left corner of the end zone.

Mark Mays ran in the two-point conversion, and at halftime Northmont led 20-14.

On their first possession of the fourth quarter, Fairmont was forced to kick. Their response? A seventeen yard punt.

On the next play Mays scored on  a 73-yard scamper down the left sideline. After his two-point conversion this became a two touchdown game.

Mays–who has run in the last three OHSAA D-I state 100-meter finals–hit high gear around the thirty-yard line and then he was gone, warp drive. Just like on Star Trek.

If you blinked, you totally missed it.

“I just thank God and my teammates,” Mays noted in his most efficient manner. “They have all been very generous to me.”

Fairmont–exposed in brutal fashion by the Alter Knights earlier in the season and generally underrated the rest of the time–showed everyone why they were still in contention for the GWOC-C crown going into week ten.

They responded immediately with a 10-play, 74 yard scoring drive—capped off by a 1-yard Nathan Kohls touchdown plunge.

Northmont lined up for a 53-yard field goal attempt on their next possession, but it was blocked by Bryce Hodges.

Sixteen plays and 73 yards later Kohls scored on yet another 1-yard fourth quarter touchdown run for Fairmont, and with just 0:54.6 left on the clock this game looked like it was tied and headed into overtime.

But Mr. Gress had other ideas, and with his blocked kick Northmont moves into second round play. For the Firebirds? It’s time for them to turn in their uniforms.

Fairmont had 337 of total offense for the game.

Pedro had 244 yards (19-40-1) passing and 67 yards rushing (11 carries). Jamaal Everett  contributed 157 yards receiving.

Cunningham, who experienced a breakout game against the T-Bolts in week 9, was held to  just 58 yards receiving by Barnett this time around. Next year, however, the GWOC-C is likely to become his own personal playground.

Northmont had 238 yards (171 rushing) of total offense.

Chase Belton threw for 67 yards (on 9-18 passing). Barnett had an interception.

Two weeks ago, The T-bolts beat the Firebirds 16-7, in what was essentially the GWOC-Central championship.

“Now that I think about it, two weeks ago, I don’t think we got their best shot,” said Schneider. “But tonight it was a slugfest, a heavyweight bout. This was a great game.”

It was Northmont’s first playoff victory since 2003. Next Saturday the T-Bolts are scheduled to face Cincinnati Elder in a second-round game at a site to be announced later this weekend.

Elder qualified by crushing the Centerville Elks on Saturday night, 52-27.

“If I had a choice,” Schneider said, serious as a heart attack. “I’d rather not have to travel down there to play this thing at the Pit. There are other places I’d rather see this game played.”

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