Kaden Doup found Jace Middleton in the end zone on what looked to be a game-winning connection as time expired, but it was ruled out of bounds as host and top-seeded Massillon Perry escaped with a 14-10 Division II, Region 7 semifinal win Friday night.
The fourth-seeded Braves had a couple of chances to take a late lead.
With just more than four minutes to play, and a first down at the Perry 24, Olentangy’s Landon Johnson powered 15 yards ahead to the nine-yard line, but fumbled at the end of the run.
The Panthers recovered, but didn’t get very far after a 91-yard TD run by Josh Lemon was negated by a holding penalty on the first play of the ensuing series.
The Braves got the ball back at their own 41, fresh out of timeouts, with 1:51 left. They didn’t take long to get into position for a score as Doup hooked up with Middleton on a screen pass that covered 43 yards on a third-and-10 play, but time evaporated quickly after that.
Johnson powered to the 11 with a five-yard run, but was tackled for a loss on the next play … and the clock continued to tick. Doup ran inside the 10 on the next play, but was tackled in bounds again, setting up the final sequence.
Perry’s Dominic Vinas opened the game with a 90-yard kickoff return before Ethan Hand got the Braves back to even with a two-yard score with 42.2 seconds left in the first quarter.
Lemon scored from a yard out, capping a 13-play drive that chewed up seven minutes of the second-quarter clock, and Olentangy’s Hayden Olcott hit a 42-yard field goal to score what proved to be the final three points of the game just before halftime.
Next up, Perry will take on second-seeded Massillon Washington in Friday night’s regional championship.
Delaware Hayes 21, Buckeye Valley 14
The host Barons landed the first and last blows, but the Pacers scored 21-straight points in between to notch a non-league win over their rivals in Friday’s season finale.
Dalton Dodds opened the scoring summary with a 25-yard touchdown run, giving BV a 7-0 lead with 6:02 left in the first quarter.
Hayes went to work after that, though. Austin Dowell hit Ty Gillman for a 15-yard score on the final play of the first quarter.
The Barons maintained a slim lead as the ensuing PAT was no good, but it didn’t last long. Logan Eubanks ran for a one-yard score with 3:10 left in the second, and Nick Wildman sprinted in for the two-point conversion to give the Pacers a 14-7 advantage at the break.
Hayes added to its edge when Dowell powered into the end zone from a yard out with 6:50 left in the third before BV smoothed out the scoring summary with a five-yard touchdown run by Andre Ash midway through the fourth.
Big Walnut 28, Central Crossing 0
Caden Williams had a monster game to cap what was a stellar season, eclipsing 1,500 yards on the year with a three-touchdown night to lift the Golden Eagles to a lopsided non-league win over the host Comets Friday night.
The senior standout carried the ball 42 times for 270 yards and the three scores. Big Walnut also found the end zone through the air, with Jagger Barnett connecting with Zach Barnecut from 25 yards out.