With a trip to the state final on the line, Friday's slate of playoff games in Ohio carried some heavy stakes. Two local teams were in action, vying to continue their quests to be state champions.
The Winton Woods Warriors advanced to the championship game for the first time with an impressive effort over Marion-Franklin in Centerville.
Elsewhere, the Wyoming Cowboys came up short in a showdown with Columbus DeSales at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.
WINTON WOODS 69, MARION-FRANKLIN 35
Dominique Brown put on a legendary performance Friday night. The Winton Woods' (12-2) quarterback ran for seven touchdowns as the Warriors advance to the school's first ever state championship appearance. The senior made quite a statement in his bid to be the Division II Offensive Player of the Year by posting a career-high 249 rushing yards in his team's 69-35 victory.
For the second time in three weeks Winton Woods put up 35 first half points. Marion-Franklin would make a game of it early. Verlon Reed kept pace with Brown early on as he ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns on his first five carries.
Marion-Franklin would take the lead 21-14. Winton Woods would go into intermission with a 35-21 advantage. It was the Warriors run game that dictated the tempo as they racked up 313 yards on the ground. Brown would cross the goal-line four times before intermission.
Winton Woods' offense did not let up in the second half. By the time the dust had cleared the team would run for 645 yards on 64 carries. Jeremiah Goins would tally for 264 yards and two scores. It would be the senior's 70th and 71st rushing touchdowns of his career.
Reed would turn to his arm in the second half by tossing two touchdowns to counter. He threw for an additional 213 yards in the contest. It just wasn't enough to overcome the Warriors potent offensive attack.
Winton Woods will play Maple Heights in pursuit of their first state title next Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
DESALES 24, WYOMING 7
DeSales (11-3) broke open a close game with three second-half touchdowns to beat Wyoming 24-7 and earn a trip to the state finals. Junior quarterback Nick Gentile ran the Stallions' offense to perfection as he found the end zone twice.
It was the DeSales' defense that made the difference as they held Wyoming (13-1) to a season-low of seven points. Junior Chris Rock had three sacks and was a menace in the Cowboys' backfield all night. Wyoming could only muster 74 total yards in the first half.
Two big pass plays from Kyle Seyfried to Evan Aleshire kept Wyoming alive in the second stanza. Seyfried would connect on a 68-yard scoring pass to Aleshire to pull the Cowboys to within 10 at 17-7 with ten minutes left in the contest. The junior quarterback would end up finishing by completing nine of his 24 passes for 186 yards, but was picked off twice.
DeSales just proved to be too much down the stretch as their offense generated 245 yards after intermission. The ground game was the difference in this one.
The Stallions move on to play Cardinal Mooney next Friday morning in Massillon. DeSales hopes to avenge an early season loss to the boys from Youngstown.