OHSAA football: Ohio playoff scores, recaps from Columbus-area regional semifinals (2024)

The Dispatch high school sports staff covered two Division I, Region 3 contests — Upper Arlington-Gahanna Lincoln and Pickerington North-Hilliard Bradley — for the regional semifinals.

We also received help from our USA Today Network colleagues, who covered Watterson's Division III, Region 11 game against Bloom-Carroll and Hartley-Thornville Sheridan in Division IV, Region 15.

OHSAA football: Ohio playoff scores, recaps from Columbus-area regional semifinals (2)

Upper Arlington 12, Gahanna Lincoln 7

UA rode its defense and the right leg of freshmankicker Edward Oakley to an upset of previously unbeaten Gahanna in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal Friday at Thomas Worthington.

Oakley kicked four field goals as the fourth-seeded Golden Bears (10-3) advanced to face OCC-Central rival Hilliard Bradleyin the regional final next Friday.

The No. 1 seed in Region 3, Gahanna (12-1) entered the game averaging 38.6 points butwas held scoreless on offense.Running back Diore Hubbard, a West Virginia commit who was first-team all-district, was held to 58 yards on 19 carries.

“Our defense has been so solid,” UA coach Justin Buttermore said. “A bunch of guys playing together — it’sa team approach. It’snot individuals. We knew we had to control (Hubbard). He’san unbelievable talent. He’sthe best player we’veseen all year. To keep him in check all night, it’sjust an unbelievable team effort.”

Gahanna’s touchdown came on Jalen Scott’s 92-yard fumble return with 8:17 remaining in the third quarter, closing the Lions to within 9-7.

Scott also had an interception in the second quarter.

OHSAA football: Ohio playoff scores, recaps from Columbus-area regional semifinals (3)

Oakley’s 18-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter gave UA a 3-0 lead. The Bears never trailed.

Oakley kicked a 24-yard field goal with 3 seconds remainingin the first half, followed by a 35-yarder early in the third quarter aftera Gahanna turnover.

After Scott got the Lions on the board, Oakley closed the scoring with a 34-yard field goal with 10 seconds remainingin the third.

“It wasn’t the plan just to kick field goals,” Buttermore said. “They’re so explosive offensively, I didn’t think field goals would win the game, but unbelievable toughness by him as a freshman to get out there and nail fourof them to get us the 12 points.”

Oakley said: “Everyone kind of overlooked us and I’m glad we couldget it done. Each one was like the next. They weren’t too far but they felt good, especially the last one.”

Gahanna had scoring opportunities in the fourth quarter to take thelead, butlost the ball on downs twicein UA territory, including with 1:02 left.

“We had our chances and that’s all you can ask for,” Gahanna coach Bruce Ward said. “Football is like life,you get chancesand you have totake advantage. If youdon’t, thingsdon’twork out for you. The kids fought and had a good year. We justweren’tat our best today. Things happen.”

—Frank DiRenna

Hilliard Bradley 19, Pickerington North 0

To say neither Bradley nor North had much to write home about after the first half of a Division I, Region 3 semifinal at DeSales might be only a slight exaggeration.

Second-seeded Bradley had the only touchdown, a 16-yard pass from Bradyn Fleharty to Preston Wolfe, but otherwise scuffled to the tune of 0 rushing yards on seven carries. North, the No. 3 seed, did not fare much better with only 10 yards on the ground.

That is what encouraged the Jaguars the most, and they leaned on their defense the rest of the way to post a shutout and reach their first regional final.

Bradley (12-1) held North (11-2) to minus-6 yards rushing for the game, only 64 total yards in the second half and came up with a fumble recovery late in the third quarter to set up an insurance touchdown. The Panthers, who entered Friday averaging 34.5 points, were shut out for the first time since 2010.

“(Our defense) flies around, they have great discipline and they just make plays,” Jaguars coach Mike LoParo said. “We mixed in some different coverages and personnel packages. We needed to make them throw it sideways.”

Bradley’s offense was much more in sync in the second half, when Fleharty — the district’s Offensive Player of the Year — was 11-for-21 for 101 yards and a touchdown.

OHSAA football: Ohio playoff scores, recaps from Columbus-area regional semifinals (5)

The Jaguars came out of halftime with a 16-play drive that resulted in a 26-yard field goal by Jacob Walter and a 10-0 lead.

Three plays later, defensive lineman Brody Healy recovered a fumble at North’s 26. Five plays after that, Fleharty hit Wolfe with an 8-yard strike in the back of the end zone to make it 16-0.

“That was a corner route; I just saw the ball and I wasn’t going to let anyone else get it,” Wolfe said. “We knew it was going to be a battle. Our defense was unbelievable.”

Healy wasn’t sure who caused the fumble, but quickly added this was the type of dominance he expects.

“Our line has been playing lights out and getting pressure on every quarterback we’ve seen,” Healy said. “It could have been any guy who (caused that fumble). We were able to take away their passing game, those screens they have, but the linebackers read really well in the second half and made big plays.”

Fourteen penalties for 158 yards also doomed North, which fell short of its first regional final since 2017.

“Their defensive line and their linebackers, those are incredible football players,” Panthers coach Nate Hillerich said. “We had opportunities. We contained (Fleharty), who is a special player. We needed to get momentum and we just couldn’t.”

—Dave Purpura

OHSAA football: Ohio playoff scores, recaps from Columbus-area regional semifinals (6)

Watterson 20, Bloom-Carroll 10

A season after losing to Bloom-Carroll 33-28 in the Division III, Region 11 final, Watterson got its revenge in a regional semifinal at Teays Valley.

The top-seeded Eagles (12-1) will play seventh-seeded Bellefontaine (11-2) next Friday for the regional title.

Watterson overcame a 10-0 deficit and contained the fifth-seeded Bulldogs’ top playmakers. Quarterback Ethan Thanthanavong completed 12 of 25 passes for 144 yards and was intercepted twice, and Bloom-Carroll (10-3) rushed for only 74 yards on 27 attempts, including 48 yards by Dylan Armentrout on 16 carries.

The Eagles began their comeback with an 11-play, 96-yard drive that ended in a touchdown with only 32 seconds remaining in the first half. Quarterback A.J. McAninch went 7 of 7 for 77 yards on the drive, capping it off with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Christopher Bair.

McAninch went 9 of 10 for 134 yards in the second half. He gave the Eagles the lead for good at 14-10 when he connected with Dominic Theado on a 16-yard touchdown with 1:10 left in the third quarter, and then delivered the knockout punch with 8:48 left when he changed the play at the line of scrimmage and connected with Jake Uhlenhake for a 51-yard touchdown.

“I checked out of the play we were in because I saw they were man-to-man,” McAninch said. “No. 21 (Bloom-Carroll’s Brodyn Bishop) is a great player, and he slipped on it, but I like Jake out in the open field making plays on vertical routes. He is a great playmaker, and as soon as you get him the ball, you know he is going to do something special with it.”

—Tom Wilson, Lancaster Eagle-Gazette

OHSAA football: Ohio playoff scores, recaps from Columbus-area regional semifinals (7)

Thornville Sheridan 34, Hartley 27

Sheridan’s defense stepped up when it mattered most, preserving a win over Hartley in a Division IV, Region 15 semifinal at White Field in Newark.

Senior Brayden Weaver dislodged a potential reception at the goal-line that would have gone for a Hartley touchdown in the closing seconds. One play later, junior Jacob Householder picked off a last-gasp throw to the end zone.

The second-seeded Generals (12-1) avenged a 10-6 loss to the Hawks in a Region 11 semifinal in 2020 and advanced to face top-seeded Steubenville (12-1) in the Region 15 final.

"We just made plays everywhere," coach Paul Culver III said. "So many kids stepped up, different kids. Not just the big names who have been there, done that. We had kids across the board making plays tonight."

The third-seeded Hawks (10-3) had a 392-222 edge in total yards and were led by Robert Lathon’s 173 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 26 carries.

"It was a great football game and what you expect between a (No.) 2 (seed) and (No.) 3 (seed)," Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said. "We had a few drives where we ran through them, but they made adjustments. It was a game full of momentum swings. They played a great game, and our guys laid it all out there, too."

Sheridan led 27-21 at halftime and 34-21 after three quarters, but Hartley turned a Joey Wooten 47-yard run on a fake puntinto a Lathon 2-yard touchdown run. A bad snap on the extra-point attempt made it 34-27 with 11:56 remaining.

Hartley later drove to the Sheridan 4, but the Generals forced a fumble and recovered with 2:52 to play.

On their final possession, the Hawks reached the Generals' 46 with 14 seconds left. Hartley's Bryson Winbush then got behind the defense after cornerback Bryson Ruff slipped. A pass from Matt Galich hit Winbush in the hands, but Weaver's hit to Winbush's midsection forced an incompletion.

"I told (Ruff) he owes me big time," Weaver said, jokingly.

—Sam Blackburn, Zanesville Times Recorder

West Jefferson 49, Beverly Fort Frye 30

Austin Buescher completed 20 of 25 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 77 yards and one score on eight carries, leading the second-seeded Roughriders (12-1) past the third-seeded Cadets (10-3) in a Division VI, Region 23 semifinal at Lancaster.

Buescher threw scoring passes of 24, 70and 52 yards to Mason Book, who finished with seven receptions for 221 yards. Buescher also rushed for a 25-yard score, Wyatt Keyt scored on runs of 27 and 7 yards and Braxton Stone returned a fumble 42 yards for a touchdown.

West Jefferson will play top-seeded Sugarcreek Garaway (13-0) in the regional final.

Ohio high school football regional semifinal scores

Division I

Region 1

Lakewood St. Edward 41, Can. McKinley 17

Medina 21, Cle. Hts. 20

Region 2

Dublin Coffman 24, Olentangy Berlin 7

Springfield 37, Olentangy 24

Region 3

Upper Arlington 12, Gahanna Lincoln 7

Hilliard Bradley 19, Pickerington North 0

Region 4

Cin. Moeller 38, Mason 3

W. Chester Lakota W. 19, Cin. Princeton 7

Division II

Region 5

Akr. Hoban 21, Painesville Riverside 0

Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 35, Hudson 14

Region 6

Avon 33, Olmsted Falls 23

Medina Highland 31, Whitehouse Anthony Wayne 10

Region 7

Green 10, Canal Winchester 0

Massillon 35, Uniontown Lake 6

Region 8

Cin. Anderson 50, Harrison 36

Cin. Withrow 42, Troy 14

Division III

Region 10

Tiffin Columbian 35, Medina Buckeye 0

Tol. Cent. Cath. 41, Mansfield Sr. 10

Region 11

Bellefontaine 29, Granville 21

Watterson 20, Bloom-Carroll 10

Region 12

Celina 27, Tipp City Tippecanoe 13

Hamilton Badin 14, Wapakoneta 10

Region 13

Can. South 40, Beloit W. Branch 21

Struthers 28, Mentor Lake Cath. 25

Division IV

Region 14

Cle. Glenville 50, Shelby 14

Sandusky Perkins 38, Millersburg W. Holmes 21

Region 15

Steubenville 42, Gnadenhutten Indian Valley 35

Thornville Sheridan 34, Hartley 27

Region 16

Cin. Wyoming 21, Spring. Shawnee 20

Kettering Alter 21, Clarksville Clinton-Massie 3

Division V

Region 17

Canfield S. Range 48, Lorain Clearview 21

Perry 42, Garrettsville Garfield 14

Region 18

Coldwater 42, Milan Edison 7

Liberty Center 45, Oak Harbor 14

Region 19

Harvest Prep 20, Ironton 14

Wheelersburg 26, Barnesville 13

Region 20

Germantown Valley View 31, Cin. Purcell Marian 22

Waynesville 45, Brookville 42, 2OT

Division VI

Region 21

Kirtland 53, Cuyahoga Hts. 19

Mogadore 21, Mineral Ridge 7

Region 22

Bluffton 34, Tol. Ottawa Hills 0

Columbus Grove 37, Carey 21

Region 23

Sugarcreek Garaway 42, Galion Northmor 7

West Jefferson 49, Beverly Ft. Frye 30

Region 24

Anna 56, New Madison Tri-Village 51

Versailles 55, Cin. Country Day 13

Division VII

Region 25

Dalton 48, Norwalk St. Paul 28

Danville 41, Lowellville 21

Region 26

Hamler Patrick Henry 26, Bascom Hopewell-Loudon 14

McComb 45, Lima Cent. Cath. 13

Region 27

Caldwell 20, Waterford 13

Reedsville Eastern 21, Hannibal River 14

Region 28

Ansonia 20, St. Henry 13

Maria Stein Marion Local 28, Minster 7

OHSAA football: Ohio playoff scores, recaps from Columbus-area regional semifinals (2024)
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