SIDNEY — Lehman therew a scare into defending state champion Fort Recovery, but came up short in a 21-20 thriller at Sidney Memorial Stadium Friday.
The Cavaliers stunned the defending D-7 champs with a 71-yard scoring drive in just two plays to open the game. They increased the lead to 10-0 before the Indians regrouped and took a 14-10 lead at the half on a pair of touchdown passes by Toledo-bound quarterback Caleb Martin.
Jake Earhart went 20 yards on the first play of the game from the 29 for Lehman, the quarterback Elliott Gilardi kept the ball and went the rest of the distance for a 7-0 lead with 11:24 left in the opening quarter.
Lehman then held the Indians and when the Cavs got the ball back, Gilardi went 25 yards to Fort Recovery’s 35. The drive stalled, however, and the Cavs settled for a 33-yard Michael Denning field goal.
Lehman got one more shot at the endzone after picking off a pass at the FR 25. But the Cavs settled for another field goal attempt, and this one was wide.
The Indians scored the second of their touchdowns with under a minute to go in the half to take the lead.
The Cavaliers retook the lead on a fourth-down touchdown from Gilardi to Arnold for a 17-14 lead with 1:33 left in the third quarter. And the Cavs then recovered the ensuing kickoff deep in Recovery territory. On fourth-and-nine, the Cavs converted down to the two, but had to settle for a field goal and a 20-14 lead in the final period.
The Indians then drove to a score, with Will Homan going in from the one. The extra-point kick was good for a 21-20 lead.
in season opener
BRADFORD – Bradford started off the 2016 football season with a 37-13 loss to Midwest Athletic Conference member New Bremen.
“I’ve got to be proud of the way our kids played,” Bradford’s first-year varsity head coach Dave McFeely said. “I think they gave us everything they had.”
Bradford and New Bremen started the game on Friday with the Cardinals taking a 2-0 lead after the Railroaders muffed a punt return near their own end zone.
The game then was delayed until Saturday morning because of lightning, and when play resumed Bradford found itself backed up against its own end zone, resulting in a second safety and a 4-0 deficit.
New Bremen’s defense and special teams continued to play strong with an interception returned for a touchdown putting the Cardinals up 10-0.
Bradford eventually got on the scoreboard with a long touchdown pass from Andy Branson to Hunter Penkal but found itself trailing 17-7 at halftime.
In the second half New Bremen pulled away and increases its lead to 37-7. The Railroaders scored the final points of the day with Dialaquan Millhouse taking a sweep for a touchdown, making it 37-13.
“They got some shots on him, but he was able to break them and got in the end zone,” McFeely said.
Ultimately a big factor in the outcome of the game was New Bremen’s depth, McFeely said.
“They were a good team,” he said. “They play in the MAC and so they’re used to playing tough games. They took a toll on us weather-wise and conditioning-wise because they were able to do a lot of two platooning-type stuff. It just took a toll in the game.
“Big difference is we had 26 kids running in and out, and they had 48. But that’s not an excuse. Our kids played hard. They did some things. They made some mistakes, but they did some things really well, too. Can’t complain with that.”
And while the Railroaders were out-manned, McFeely was happy to finish the game without any significant injuries.
“It was a good game for us,” he said. “We came out of it pretty healthy, which was a plus.”
Bradford will return to action on Friday at Troy Christian
“We just hope we can bounce back and be more competitive and get a ‘W’ next Friday night,” McFeely said.
CELINA – The Versailles Tigers opened the season with a 13-7 come-from-behind victory on Friday night in Celina.
The Tigers trailed 7-0 at the half before outscoring Celina 13-0 in the second half.
“We played about as ugly as we could have,” Versailles football coach Adam Miller said. “Give all the credit in the world to the kids; they never gave up.”
The defense kept the Tigers in the game until the offense got on track. The Celina defense blitzed Versailles most of the night, resulting in some Tiger miscues.
The Tigers held the Bulldogs 127 total yards. The Versailles defense held Celina to four first downs in the game.
The Tigers ran for 187 yards and threw for 64 yards. Alex Wendel threw a touchdown pass to Keaton McEldowney. Garrett Thompson scored on and 80-yard run. Thompson finished with 127 yards on the night.
Celina scored on its second possession of the game. The Bulldogs went 80 yards, scoring on a 25-yard run.
The Bulldogs did not threaten the rest of the game, gaining only 47 yards on all other possessions.
With the game tied at 7-7, the Tigers took possession at their own 20 yard line. Thompson was stopped at the line, spun around, and a Celina defender tried to strip the ball. Thompson held on, turned up field and raced 80 yards for the go ahead touchdown.
“That’s just an effort play,” Miller said. “He was stopped, and he kept his legs going, and we had guys blocking down field as well.”
The extra point was missed, but the Tigers took a 13-7 lead.
The Bulldogs would have one last chance as the Tigers were forced to punt in the final two minutes of the game. A high kick allowed the Tiger punt team to get down field and the returner muffed the punt. Tanner Bey jumped on the ball, ensuring a Tiger victory.