The fifth-seeded Big Walnut football forced three turnovers, two of which came late in the fourth quarter to help it put the finishing touches on a 35-21 win over fourth-seeded Watkins Memorial in the second round of the Division II, Region 7 playoffs Friday night in Pataskala.
With the teams even at 21, the Golden Eagles (10-2) took the lead for good when Nate Severs, who ran for 151 yards and three scores, powered into the end zone from five yards out with 5:16 left.
The knockout blow, though, came on the next series … from the defense.
Big Walnut more than got the stop it needed, forcing a fumble and returning it for a touchdown to all but seal the deal.
Cam Gladden added the point-after attempt to make it a 35-21 game and all but seal the deal with 3:55 left.
The Warriors’ next drive ended with a turnover, too, as Nicky Pentello intercepted a Patrick Carney pass to wrap things up.
BW quarterback Jake Nier had an efficient night at the office, completing 14 of his 19 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown. Pentello was his top target, making five grabs for 57 yards.
Carney was solid for Watkins (9-3). He finished 10-for-12 passing for 179 yards and a touchdown while rushing another 16 times for 56 yards and another score.
Brody Lee was the Warriors’ top receiver, finishing with five receptions for 68 yards and a score.
The win sets up a regional semifinal showdown with top-seeded Massillon Washington (10-1), which blanked ninth-seeded Canal Winchester 34-0 in its quarterfinal. The game will be played Friday night at 7 p.m. at a site to be determined.
Perrysburg 24, Olentangy Berlin 8
The fourth-seeded Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 24-0 lead and held on from there en route to a Division I, Region 2 quarterfinal win over the visiting and fifth-seeded Bears Friday night in Perrysburg.
Berlin, which won its first league title and closed out the season with a solid 8-4 overall record, got on the board when Mason Ziegler plowed into the end zone from three yards out with 5:45 left in the third quarter.
The Bears couldn’t get much closer from there, though. Harrison Brewster found Jared Moeller for the ensuing two-point conversion, but they proved to the final two points of the contest as the Perrysburg (11-1) defense was too much in the end.
Berlin managed just 168 yards of total offense in the setback and had the game’s only turnover.
Connor Walendzak was the Jackets’ top weapon on offense, carrying the ball 27 times for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win.
Next up, Perrysburg will take on eighth-seeded Olentangy Liberty Friday night at 7 p.m. at a site to be determined.