FINDLAY - In last night's Division III regional semifinal, the Clyde Fliers relied on the legs of fullback Matt Guhn to carry them to overtime, and the leg of Jerry Phillips to propel them to victory.
The Fliers' defense stopped the Dayton Chaminade-Juliene offense at the goal line on its first overtime possession, opening the door for Phillips' game-winning 41-yard field goal and a 17-14 win over the Eagles.
"You can't say enough about the team's effort in coming back for this one," Clyde coach Marc Gibson said. "Our guys showed tremendous heart out there."
Guhn, a state champion wrestler who recently committed to wrestle at Michigan, was the key component of the Fliers'
offense, rumbling for 107 yards on 23 carries and Clyde's only two touchdowns.
"He's a big guy, and runs hard for us," Gibson said. "But as a senior, his best quality is his ability to keep the team up and be a leader. He certainly did that tonight."
The game threatened to be scoreless at halftime before Eagles quarterback Matt Bruggeman threw a 15-yard strike to Donovan Potter in the end zone, putting the Fliers down 7-0 at the break. Clyde had a few scoring opportunities in the first half, but costly penalties and a fumble by Guhn on Chaminade-Juliene's 10-yard line kept the Fliers out of the end zone.
"At halftime, a lot of the guys were down, but we told them we were going to step it up," Guhn said. "We believed, we kept our hearts in the game, and that's what won it for us."
Guhn chose to lead by example on Clyde's first possession of the second half. Starting at their own 41-yard line, the Fliers ran the ball seven consecutive times, with Guhn running on six of them, to reach the Eagles' 2-yard line. From there, the fullback finished what he started with a dead-ahead plunge. A missed extra point by Phillips, however, kept the Fliers down by a point.
Down 14-6 after Bruggeman ran another score in for the Eagles, Clyde took the ball back with less then seven minutes remaining in the game and went away from the running game to move downfield.
Their drive nearly faltered when they passed midfield, but Troy Wetzel made a big sideline catch on fourth-and-six from the Eagles' 35-yard line to keep Clyde's hope alive.
Guhn covered the next 22 yards himself, capping the drive with another two-yard touchdown run.
Down 14-12 at that point, Clyde quarterback Brent Aona found Eric Schwartz on an out route and delivered the ball for the game-tying two-point conversion.
The Eagles eventually took the ball into Clyde territory with under a minute left, but Guhn delivered again when he sacked Bruggeman for a seven-yard loss late in the drive, forcing overtime.
Chaminade-Juliene needed just three plays to reach Clyde's 1-yard line on second-and-goal, but two sneak attempts by Bruggeman and a run by Tyrone Jones were stuffed.
Clyde was unable to gain positive yardage on its ensuing possession, but it was enough for Phillips to kick his longest of the season to win it.
"We like close games like this," Guhn said. "The Clyde fans like games like this. They get their money's worth when they come see us play."
Clyde will face Springfield Shawnee in the regional final.
Contact Ryan Vasko at firstname.lastname@example.org