The top-seeded Olentangy football team took care of business early, racing out to a 34-0 lead late in the first half en route to a lopsided 44-13 Division I, Region 2 opening-round win over visiting and 16th-seeded Dublin Jerome Friday night in Lewis Center.
Riley Clarkson capped a six minute opening drive with a touchdown run and, after the defense forced a quick three-and-out, the offense ate up the rest of the quarter with another methodical drive punctuated by a one-yard TD run by P.J. Harrison.
Olentangy (10-1) went to the air after that, making it 20-0 when Ethan Grunkemeyer found Sam Uhlenhake for a 70-yard scoring bomb and 27-0 when Jackson Wiley took a short pitch to the house from 80 yards out with 5:49 left in the half.
Grunkemeyer hit Gavin Grover for a touchdown with 1:15 left in the second and, after the Celtics tried to claw back with a couple scores, Andrew Wilber scored from the doorstep at the end of the third before Matthew Tobias hit a 37-yard field goal to smooth out the scoring summary late in the fourth.
Next up, Olentangy will take on ninth-seeded Miamisburg (8-3) in Friday’s regional quarterfinal in Lewis Center. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Olentangy Berlin 20, Marysville 0
The second-seeded Bears coupled a rock-solid defensive effort with more than enough offense to open the Division I, Region 2 playoffs with a shutout win over the 15th-seeded Monarchs Friday night in Delaware.
Berlin (10-1), which also beat Maryville (4-7) by 20 earlier in the year and won its 10th game in a season for the first time in program history, scored all the points it would need when quarterback Harrison Brewster found the end zone from 23 yards out in the first quarter.
Spencer Conrad added a 24-yard field goal as the Bears took a 10-0 edge into halftime, Mason Ziegler scored from 11 yards out to add on in the third and another Conrad field goal — this time a 30-yarder in the fourth — accounted for the final margin.
Brewster completed 13 of his 23 passes for 186 yards and rushed for another 114 yards and his TD. Ziegler had 15 carries for 59 yards while Josh Gavin and Joe Beaumier combined for seven grabs covering more than 100 yards — three receptions for 67 yards for Beaumier and four for 57 for Gavin.
The defense took care of the rest, limiting the Monarchs to just 20 yards through the air and 56 on the ground.
The win sets up a quarterfinal showdown against 10th-seeded and visiting Perrysburg (8-3). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday night back at Berlin.
Olentangy Liberty 36, Findlay 35
The 14th-seeded Patriots made plays when they needed them most, stunning the third-seeded and host Trojans with a last-second touchdown and two-point conversion to escape with a Division I, Region 2 playoff win Friday night in Findlay.
With the season on the line from the nine-yard line, Liberty (4-7) quarterback Andrew Leonard found Wilson Roberts open in the back of the end zone to slice the deficit to one, 35-34, as the clock hit triple zeros.
Instead of trying to tie the game, though, the Patriots went for it all. Toby Gage took a reverse and fired to an open Leonard for the successful two-point conversion and the walk-off win.
It was a back-and-fourth game throughout. Liberty led 14-0 before Findlay stormed back to take a 34-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
Jake Struck had a huge night for the Patriots, finishing with 121 yards and a touchdown on the ground to go with nine receptions for 162 yards and two scores through the air.
Leonard, meanwhile, completed 20 of his 29 throws for 276 yards and three TDs. He also ran for 60 yards and a score.
Findlay (8-3) quarterback Ryan Montgomery had a huge night, too, throwing for 368 yards and three touchdowns. Javonte Hill was his top target, finishing with 20 grabs for 199 yards and two touchdowns.
Next up, Liberty will get sixth-seeded Dublin Coffman (8-3) in Friday’s regional quarterfinal in Dublin. The Shamrocks beat the Patriots, 24-14, when they met in the regular season.
Big Walnut 43, Northland 14
The 12th-seeded Golden Eagles seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time, using fast starts to both halves to pull away from the fifth-seeded Vikings in a Division II, Region 7 playoff opening-round game Friday night in Columbus.
Big Walnut (6-5), thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns from Nate Severs and a safety from the defense, led 16-0 after the opening quarter of action and, after a 14-0 third, led 36-7 heading into the fourth.
Mahari Bowles scored from five yards out to get Northland (9-2) within single digits, 16-7, but BW scored 27 unanswered points to all but seal the deal.
Severs led the charge, finishing with 25 carries for 187 yards and four touchdowns. Garrett Stover also had a rushing touchdown in the win.
Jake Neff and Austin Kawasaki had interceptions while Landen Doan returned a fumble for a touchdown to pace the Eagle defense.
Next up, Big Walnut will take on fourth-seeded Lake (8-3) in Friday’s regional quarterfinal in Uniontown. Action is set to get underway at 7 p.m.
Also: Centerville 23, Olentangy Orange 6; Tri-Valley 49, Buckeye Valley 12.