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Warriors blank Lions, head into post season
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By Dan Ries
The Carrollton Warriors completed the regular season with a 34-0 victory over rival Minerva Lions at Dr. Robert H. Hines Stadium on Oct. 20 and earned the points necessary to qualify for the post season tournament.
It was Carrollton’s first shutout of the season and Minerva’s fourth. Minerva has not beaten Carrollton since 2015 and lost the last 29 games.
The Warriors (No. 16) will travel to Steubenville Friday to face Big Red (No. 1) in the first round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IV, Region 15 playoffs. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
Minerva received the opening kickoff of Friday’s rivalry game. On the third play from scrimmage, Warrior freshman Marcus Brooks intercepted a Jon Davis pass on the Minerva 32-yard line. Doing what they do best, the Warriors stayed on the ground. Quarterback Jacob Whitmore capped off the short drive with a 1-yard touchdown to give the hosts a 7-0 lead (Quentin Rosenberger kick) just three minutes into the game.
But the Lions weren’t going to go away easy. After a bobbled kick return, the hosts started on their own 14-yard line. Mixing in the run and pass, the Lions drove 85 yards in 13 plays. With a fourth and goal from the one-yard line, Minerva attacked the left side of the Warrior defense and was denied the end zone with 50 seconds left in the first quarter.
Carrollton began the next possession on their own one-yard line, barely escaping a safety on the first play. On third and five, Ryan Kiko found a hole in the Lion defense and raced 26 yards to the 31-yard line. With a little breathing room, Whitmore took to the air and found Landon James with a 30-yard pass to the Lions 39-yard line. Five plays later, Kiko scored on a two-yard run. Carrollton led 14-0 (Rosenberger kick) at the 8:31 mark of the first half.
It was a momentum turner for the Warriors. “They (the defense) had a big stand and got the ball back on the one. That was a heck of a drive by our kids.” Coach Jim Tsilimos said after the game.
After an 8-play drive Minerva, punted the ball to the Warrior 28-yard line with 3:39 left in the half. The Warriors started a 12 play, 72-yard drive which included a 19-yard pass to Braylon Murphy. Levi Crider went the final yard for a touchdown with :01 left in the half. With Rosenberger’s kick, the hosts held a 21-0 lead at halftime.
Minerva kicked off to begin the second half. But, it wouldn’t be a Carrollton Warrior football game without a fumble on special teams. Minerva recovered the Carrollton miscue on the Warrior 40-yard line. The Warrior defense stood strong and forced a turnover on downs by the Lions.
Tsilimos’ run offense continued to pound the Lion defense. Sixty-five of the team’s 251 rushing yards came on the next drive. The seven-play drive culminated with a 20-yard touchdown run by Kiko to give the Warriors a 27-0 lead (Rosenberger kick failed) with 5:37 left in the third quarter.
After a quick three and out by hosts, the Warriors started to set up the offense on the 19-yard line. This time, running backs Dalton Sweeney and Carter Matoszkia led the ground and pound running game. The drive started with a 15-yard run by Sweeney and ended with a five-yard touchdown run by Matoszkia, first touchdown for the Warriors. It was an 11 play, 81-yard drive that took 6:40 off the clock rounding out the scoring for the Warriors, and the game, a 34-0 (Rosenberger kick) Warrior win.
The Warriors led in first downs 20-7. They also led in total yards 332-150, rushing 251-81, and passing 81-69. The Warriors lost two fumbles and Minerva had an interception.
Whitmore completed seven of 10 passes for 81 yards. James caught two passes for 35 yards and Murphy pulled in two for 35 yards. Minerva quarterback Jon Davis was 4-9 for 51 yards. Isaac Haas caught two passes for 39 yards.
On the ground the Warriors were led by Kiko’s eight carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Crider had nine carries for 63 yards and one touchdown. Whitmore carried nine times for 59 yards and a touchdown. Devon Patterson led the Lions on the ground with 60 yards on 17 carries.
Defensively, Carrollton was led by Dalton Naylor’s seven tackles. Alesio Mema and Brooks had five tackles each with Brooks having the interception. Crider, Micah Moore and Owen Spilker each had four tackles.
“I’m proud of these seniors. They deserve to have a shot at the playoffs. It has been a great year for our seniors.” Tsilimos said about the opportunity to participate in post season action.
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