Top-seeded Winton Woods rallies past Olentangy


By Michael Rich - For the Gazette



CINCINNATI – Junior Miyan Williams entered the game needing just 18 yards to eclipse 2,000 on the ground for the season. A 22-yarder on his second carry did the trick.

He turned in a 431-yard performance and ran for six touchdowns to help the top-seeded Winton Woods football team to a 49-42 win in a Division II, Region 8 quarterfinal Friday night.

“All credit to Olentangy,” Winton Woods coach Andre Parker said. “They came out and they executed and they did a great job of kicking our butt in the first half. They out-executed, out-coached and out-played us.”

Williams broke free for an 88-yard touchdown on the first play after Olentangy turned it over on downs to give Winton Woods (10-1) its first lead at 42-35 with 9:35 left.

“We knew they were coming, but we didn’t tackle,” Olentangy coach Mark Solis said. “I gotta get some things fixed (on defense) – and that’s on me. When you do what we do on offense – you gotta get off the field (on defense).”

Caden Kaiser (40 yards) and Ian Drummond (20 yards) made big catches to set up a Luke Riedel 2-yard run to tie it up again with 6:43 left.

But, Williams broke free again for a 52-yard run up the middle to give Winton Woods the lead for good.

“I told him he’s the best running back I’ve seen in 20 years and to handle what he needs to handle in the classroom so he can go where ever he wants to go,” Solis said. “He’s low-center, he’s strong as an ox and he’s got deceptive speed. I mean, he’s as good as we’ve ever seen.”

Eighth-seeded Olentangy got it as close as the 10-yard line on its final possession, but three Connor Haag incomplete passes gave Winton Woods the ball back on downs.

“We should have won the game,” Solis said. “That’s the second year in a row that we should have won (a playoff) game. When you score 42 points, you’re supposed to win the game. When you lead 35-14 at halftime – you’re supposed to win the game.”

Olentangy’s defense kept Williams bottled up as it built its lead in the first quarter Haag threw two touchdown passes and Max Walden returned a fumble for a touchdown as the Braves built a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.

But, he exploded from there. He took the ball on the first play of the second quarter and went 71 yards down the right sideline to get Winton Woods on the board, down 21-7 with 11:48 left.

Riedel and Williams exchanged 1-yard touchdown runs.

Olentangy (5-6) went three-and-out midway through the second quarter before a roughing the punter kept the drive alive.

Facing a fourth-and-inches at midfield on the same drive, Olentangy tried to draw the Winton Woods defense offside, but it didn’t work.

Haag lined up under center after the timeout and play-action-faked with Kaiser wide open on the right side, but the ball was underthrown. Pass interference was called to give Olentangy new life for a second time on the drive, setting up a Drummond 7-yard touchdown reception to push the lead to 35-14 at the break.

But, two turnovers in the third quarter opened the door for Winton Woods.

A Miquan Grace interception on Olentangy’s opening possession of the second half set up a MiChale Wingfield 5-yard touchdown.

Kaiser caught a 25-yard pass on third-and-23 on the next possession to keep the drive alive. Olentangy moved it to Winton Woods’ 27, but turned it over on downs.

Two plays later, Williams found daylight on the right sideline for a 73-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to seven with 4:14 left in the third.

Jalen Engleman recovered a fumble with 2:28 left in the third and Williams turned it into a 27-yard touchdown with one second left in the period to tie it up.

“We were able to settle it down a little bit at the half and get back to playing our football,” Parker said. “Hats off to the entire team because a lot of teams would have laid down with that halftime score.”

Kaiser had 247 yards on 10 catches and a touchdown, Drummond caught eight passes for 132 yards and two scores and Reidel had 168 yards on 31 carries and two touchdowns on the ground to lead Olentangy (5-6).

Haag went 28-for-37 for 432 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Next up, Winton Woods plays fifth-seeded Morrow Little Miami Friday at 7 p.m. at a site to be determined.

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By Michael Rich

For the Gazette

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at mrichnotwealthy@gmail.com.

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at mrichnotwealthy@gmail.com.