NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Playoff football brings out the best in athletes. Friday night’s first round Division VI – Region 21 contest between the Columbian Raiders and Springfield Tigers prove that. The Tigers would stop the Raiders on an attempted game winning two point conversion to prevail 40-39 in double overtime.
After the Tigers had scored in the second overtime secession to go ahead 40-33, the Raiders would score on the fourth play of their possession to make it 40-39. The Raiders head coach rolled the dice and decided to end the marathon as he had running back Brandon Coleman try to run it in from three yards out. But the Tigers defense stuffed him at the line of scrimmage to send the Tigers team and fans into a frenzy.
“I’ve been talking about it all week about our seniors,” Tigers coach Sean Guerriero remarked. “Their leadership, hard work and dedication for this program has been unbelievable.”
The Tigers winning points had been provided by a back shoulder pass from quarterback Brannon Brungard to Jake Ford in the right corner of the end zone. Ford wrestled the ball away from a Raiders defender to score the touchdown.
“”It was a great catch,” Brungard exclaimed. “Jake is one of our best receivers and he went up and got it. It helped us win this game. Tonight he was my favorite receiver.”
“The line blocked great. It was a great pass and we got the touchdown,” Ford added. “It was an excellent pass from Brannon. He throws good passes, he’s a great quarterback and he is fun to play with.”
“Jake is probably one of our most coachable kids, but I could say that about a lot of our kids,” Guerriero said. “He works his tail off, but again I think it goes down to our senior group.”
The Tigers trailed at halftime in the contest 20-7 following two touchdown passes from Raiders quarterback Cody Schwartz and a touchdown run by Coleman. The Tigers scored on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Brungard to Ethan Nezbeth in the second quarter.
“We came in at halftime and talked about all the stuff we did throughout the season,” Guerriero said. “I told them let’s go play some tiger football. I think we were a little hesitant. I think our kids were a little bit tight, nervous, so we just needed to come out and play and do our thing. Just play like we have the past ten weeks.”
The pep talk worked at Springfield scored on two of their first three possessions starting the second half. First was a 72-yard run by Gabe Bernard at the 7:20 mark of the third quarter, and then Bernard hauled in a 68-yard pass and run at the 10:10 mark of the fourth to tie the game at 20.
The Raiders and Tigers both scored in the final four minutes of regulation as Raiders receiver Austin Sahlica caught a 37-yard touchdown with 3:324 remaining only to be answered by a 29-yard pass from Frank Centofanti to Jake Ford on a half back pass play with just 1:56 left.
In the overtime period, the Raiders would score first with a 4-yard run by Coleman, but then saw the extra point sail wide. That may have predicated the two-point try on the last play of the game.
The Tigers answered with a 8-yard touchdown run by Centofanti on the Tigers fourth play in their possession. However, with a chance to win the game with a successful extra point kick, the Tigers kicker Pat Flara had his boot sail wide right, sending the contest into a second overtime.
Read more: View all week eleven game recaps/highlights
The Tigers who improve to 9-2 on the season, will face the Kirtland Hornets next Friday at a location to be determined.