Cedarville tops Lehman, Marion Local next


CEDARVILLE — Cedarville scored touchdowns in just about every way possible on Friday against Sidney Lehman Catholic in a Division-VII first-round playoff game.

Rushing? Yep.

Passing? Check.

Interception return? Not once, but twice.

Kickoff return? It was an onside attempt, but that counts too.

Basically only a punt return and fumble return were missing as the Indians topped the Cavaliers, 42-28, to earn a second-round matchup at Marion Local Friday.

“It was our most complete game to date,” Coach Brian Bogenschutz said. “I’m just incredibly proud of them. If we get that every game, I’ll definitely take it.”

The 42 points were the second most scored on Lehman (7-4) this season. And while half the points came on defense and special teams, the offense did plenty of damage.

Sophomore quarterback Will Mossing — in his first start — ran things like a four-year starter. In place of the injured Jackson Pyles, Mossing completed 12 of 20 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. More importantly, he had zero turnovers and was not sacked.

“Will’s a great kid,” Bogenschutz said. “(Pyles) has gotten banged up before and I haven’t hesitated to put Will in. He’s played a good handful of games. I have full confidence that he’s going to be able to play to the best of his ability.”

No doubt he did.

Mossing threw scoring passes to seniors Josh Flora and Tyler Cross, who combined for eight catches and 123 yards. He also showcased his touch — and arm strength — on several long passes.

“It’s just fun to be able to throw to these skill players,” Mossing said. “My mindset was, I don’t want to lose these seniors’ last game. I made sure I didn’t. It’s amazing.”

Flora’s TD catch came on the game’s first drive and covered 39 yards for a 7-0 lead. It was a 75-yard drive that featured some tough running from junior Colt Coffey.

Lehman tied it on it’s first possession. Actually it’s first play, as senior QB Donovan O’Leary scored on an 80-yard keeper down the Lehman sideline.

Cedarville (8-3) went up 14-7 with 19 seconds left in the first quarter after a one-yard plunge by Coffey, who had 29 yards on the drive and finished the game with 26 carries for 73 yards.

The Cavaliers tied it with 9:29 left in the half on an 18-yard run from junior Da’Ron Pride.

Lehman had the ball to start the half and drove to the Cedarville 21 before sophomore Derek Orr picked off O’Leary and returned it seven yards to the 32. Following a personal foul on Lehman, Cedarville started on its own 48 and needed four plays to make it 21-14 when Mossing found Cross on a four-yard slant.

A 34-yard fade to Cross on first down and 14 rushing yards by senior Jake Winter were key plays on the drive.

Lehman was inside Cedarville territory on its next drive, but on the fourth play Flora jumped the route and intercepted O’Leary on the Indians 38.

Cedarville didn’t score, but on the next Lehman possession senior Jackson Miller stepped in front of a Cavalier, made an interception and ran untouched for a 30-yard score and 28-14 lead with 30 seconds left in the third.

“I saw that running back go out to the outside, the quarterback was staring right at him,” Miller said. “I was like, ‘I’m gonna get this.’ First touchdown on this field. Oh it felt amazing. Catch that ball, head into the end zone.”

Lehman scored on the second play of the fourth on a 26-yard pass to make it 28-21 but that’s as close as the Cavaliers would get.

They tried a floating onside kick that sophomore Mac Rader picked out of the air and ran 50 yards for a touchdown. Four plays later, Cross grabbed his second interception and returned it 70 yards for a TD and 42-21 lead with 10:10 left.

“They were running hitches all night and so I just read it and I took my opportunity,” Cross said.

Lehman added a score with 8:44 left for the final margin.

Unofficially, the Cavaliers had 494 total yards, but 263 came on their first four drives and 172 of O’Leary’s 259 passing yards came on three of the Cavaliers final five drives as they were trying to catch up.

In other words, the Cedarville defense was solid.

“We were just flying around,” Miller said. “We’re talking. We’ve been playing football for like 12 years, all of us playing together. We all know each other inside and out. We just talk perfectly. We knew we had the matchups. I knew my boy Josh on the outside, he can cover that all day.”

The Indians now have the opportunity to knock off the defending D-VI state champ in Marion Local, which has won 43 in a row.

The Flyers haven’t lost since the Clinton administration. OK, maybe it’s not that long of a winning streak. But Marion Local’s last loss was in 2020 to New Bremen in the fourth round of the playoffs. Marion Local beat Cedarville 56-0 in the second round after the Indians beat Mississinawa Valley 35-6 in the first round.

“You’ve just got to game plan and execute every day in practice and let it carry over into the game and see what happens,” Bogenschutz said.

Reach Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

No posts to display