Irish top Braves in regional final


By Michael Rich - For the Gazette



Olentangy’s Nick Boyarko, right, and Jace Middleton combine to take down Toledo Central Catholic’s Tae’Shaun Johnson (5) during the first half of Friday’s Division II regional final in Tiffin.

Olentangy’s Nick Boyarko, right, and Jace Middleton combine to take down Toledo Central Catholic’s Tae’Shaun Johnson (5) during the first half of Friday’s Division II regional final in Tiffin.


Ben Stroup | Gazette

TIFFIN – Top-seeded Toledo Central Catholic ran for 326 yards on the ground and did all the scoring it needed in the first half of a 35-14 win over Olentangy in a Division II, Region 7 football final at Frost Kalnow Stadium Friday night.

“The first half couldn’t have gone much better,” Central Catholic coach Greg Dempsey said. “Defensively, we did really well except for one drive. We were happy against a team like that going into the half up 28-7.”

Receiver Tae’Shaun Johnson scored on a pair of sweeps to sandwich the Irish scoring in the first half. His first was a 30-yarder to cap a three-play first drive for a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.

“It wasn’t so much scheme as it was personnel,” Olentangy coach Mark Solis said. “They’ve got some really good players and they were good up front.”

Olentangy came right back with a 13-play, 69-yard drive after Central Catholic’s first touchdown. Jace Middleton caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Trent Maddox, tipping a toe in the back of the end zone.

Johnson’s second score was on a similar play to the first. It went 23 yards to push the lead to 28-7 with 4:38 left in the half.

Olentangy had a chance to close the gap on the final drive of the half, but a Hayden Olcott 38-yard field goal attempt fell short.

Randy Williams, Jr. scored on a 56-yard pass play in the second quarter and also came up with an interception while Jonzell Norrils had 21 carries for 184 yards and two touchdowns for the Irish (13-0).

Maddox went 34-for-59 for 336 yards with Caleb Gossett his top target. Gossett caught 12 passes for 151 yards to lead Olentangy (7-6).

Middleton finished with six catches for 74 yards and a touchdown and Jake Coleman added a 23-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Olentangy forced three turnovers in the second half, but couldn’t convert any into points. Zach Kershner and Nick Boyarko each recovered fumbles and Daniel Kelly had an interception.

“We got a couple of players dinged up in the game and that didn’t help,” Solis said. “We just didn’t make plays down there when we should have. But I’m proud of my players and the way they fought. They’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.”

“The second half – it was Christmas come early,” Dempsey said. “We were just giving the ball away and that can’t happen this time of year. Our defense really stepped up in tight circumstances and kept them out of the end zone.”

Kelly also caught eight passes for 55 yards for Olentangy.

“Our kids are competitors – they kept fighting all year,” Solis said. “It’s a testament to their character and it’s a testament to their upbringing. Their parents have done a really good job raising them.

Central Catholic faces Cincinnati La Salle Friday night at 7 p.m. at a site to be announced.

Olentangy’s Nick Boyarko, right, and Jace Middleton combine to take down Toledo Central Catholic’s Tae’Shaun Johnson (5) during the first half of Friday’s Division II regional final in Tiffin.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2019/11/web1_IMG_4358.jpegOlentangy’s Nick Boyarko, right, and Jace Middleton combine to take down Toledo Central Catholic’s Tae’Shaun Johnson (5) during the first half of Friday’s Division II regional final in Tiffin. Ben Stroup | Gazette

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.