HAMLER - Top-ranked Patrick Henry faced uncharted territory and got the scare of a lifetime from a gritty underdog Elmwood team, but survived despite trailing for nearly all of a Division V playoff game.
The 11-0 Patriots had never been threatened all season long, but were down by 11 in the fourth quarter and took their only lead of the game with 1:03 remaining. Patrick Henry, the No. 1 Division V team in Ohio, remains alive in the postseason thanks to a gripping 34-31 comeback victory over the upstart Royals.
Elmwood (7-4) outgained the potent PH offense 384-309 and controlled the ball for twice as much time. The Royals had a five-point lead with 5:18 left in the game with the ball at their 47 on fourth down and two. But senior quarterback Al Tyson, who threw for 193 yards and rushed for 112, could not connect with a wide-open Ben Hammer.
The Patriots, who advance to play Wayne Trace next weekend, seized momentum, marching 47 yards in nine plays to score the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard dive by Josh Strub.
"They hit us and we hit them back," said PH quarterback Zack George, who threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
"We got some big plays at the end. We're just happy to survive."
Elmwood missed four extra-point attempts and turned the ball over twice. But the Royal offense kept PH off the field with 191 yards rushing while holding the ball for 33:15 to 14:45 for the
"We came out fired up," said Elmwood coach Dean Zeigler. "I think we shocked them."
The Royals opened the game with 14 runs on a 17-play drive that consumed 8:37. Tyson capped it with an eight-yard TD pass to Dusty Brown.
Tyson, who ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more, then scored on a quarterback sneak to make it 13-0 early in the second quarter.
"We came out and played our hearts out. I have no regrets. I left it all out on the field," Tyson said.
The Patriots ran only six plays over the game's first 16:13 and had only 17 yards of total offense midway through the second half.
George, who threw for 2,047 yards during the regular season, finished the first half with only 54 yards through the air.
Elmwood went up 19-0 on another Tyson sneak with 2:29 left in the first half.
"Their kids wanted it worse than our kids did tonight," Inselmann said.
Patrick Henry showed just how quickly it could strike, however, with a six-play, 61-yard drive in only 1:18 to pull within 19-7 late in the second quarter.
It took the Patriots just 1:37 to score on the first drive of the second half. George hit Marc Krauss for two long passes and Drew Kuesel scored on a 12-yard run to make it 19-14. Krauss had eight catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
"That is why they're No. 1 in the state. Their offense is so good," Tyson said.
Tyson responded by hitting a wide-open Brown, who scampered in unchallenged from 24 yards out as the Royals drained 6:24 from the clock and went up 25-14 late in the third.
"A lot of teams would have quit, but our kids didn't," Inselmann said.
The Patriots answered just over a minute later as Zach Bonner went in from seven yards out. PH missed the two-point conversion, but pulled within 25-20.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Brown scored on a six-yard romp up the middle to put the Royals back up by 11. Brown finished with 76 yards on 17 carries.
The Patriots came back with another quick drive as George hit Krauss on a 13-yard slant pass. But after another failed two-point conversion, the Royals still led 31-26 with 8:35 left.
Elmwood then appeared to be mounting a clock-killing, game-winning drive before stalling out just before midfield. The Royals, who punted just once all night, went for it on fourth down and turned the ball over.
The Patriots then relied on Strub, who rushed for 71 yards, on the clinching drive.
"We've never been down that long, that late in the game,"
Inselmann said. "We have to use this to our advantage."
Zeigler said his team felt no pressure.
"We weren't supposed to even be in this game," he said. "We were one fourth-down play from winning this game. That's why it's so disheartening to lose it at the end like that."
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