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LIMA, Ohio — The Patrick Henry team riding an eight-game win streak into a Division V regional final failed to show up against Hicksville Friday night at Lima Stadium.
The Patriots committed a season-high six turnovers (four interceptions, two fumbles) against the Aces, and it led to Hicksville rolling to a comfortable 34-7 rout of PH.
“We got outplayed and we got outcoached and give them all the credit in the world,” Patrick Henry coach Bill Inselmann said of Hicksville, which will play Coldwater in a state semifinal.
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Hicksville quarterback Justin Miller scored on runs of 36, 1, 17, and 1 yard to lead an offense that won the battle at the line of scrimmage.
“It was the upfront making holes,” said Miller, who rushed for a game-high 138 yards on 24 carries.
“They tried to contain our outside running too much and I don’t think they had anybody in the middle, and we just kept running in the middle.”
Besides giving up a scoring drive on the game’s opening possession, the Aces thoroughly dominated the contest and scored 34 straight points to put an end to the Patriots’ season.
“The worst thing about getting in the playoffs is if you don’t win a state championship it always ends in a loss,” Inselmann said. “It hurts. It stings real bad right now, and we wish we would have played better, but the bottom line is we were 2-2 and then we got all the way here to the regional finals.
“I’m very proud of how they played all year. We stood together and I wish it would have ended differently. But again, we did a lot of good things throughout the season and I’m proud of them.”
Patrick Henry’s Lucas Rosebrook, who finished with a team-high 73 yards rushing on 10 carries, put the Patriots ahead early by finishing off the opening possession with a 27-yard touchdown run.
The Patriots running back danced through the Hicksville defense and reached the end zone with just over six minutes left in the quarter to give PH a 7-0 lead.
Hicksville (11-2), winners of 11 straight, didn’t take long to match the Patriots (10-3).
Miller completed a 77-yard, seven-play drive with his longest touchdown run of the night to make it 7-7 with 2:25 left in the first quarter.
Moments later, Hicksville capitalized on the first turnover of the game to take a 14-7 lead.
Hicksville defensive back Dean Conley set up the Aces’ second score when he intercepted a Gabe Jones pass near midfield late in the opening quarter.
Miller made it 14-7 when he scored on a one-yard plunge into the end zone with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.
The Aces’ dominance was beginning to show against the Patriots.
“Other than that opening drive where they stuck it to us, our defense responded and our offense rolled off 34 straight,” Hicksville coach Lucas Smith said.
Both teams had their share of miscues in the first half. The Patriots and Aces committed two turnovers apiece before the break.
Patrick Henry was guilty of throwing an interception and fumbling an onside kick while Hicksville fumbled twice.
However, only one of the turnovers led to points and the Aces led the Patriots by only a touchdown at the break.
But the Patriots didn’t appear to come out of halftime with any more urgency than they showed in the first half.
Aces returner Charlie Emenhiser took the kickoff to open the third quarter and returned it 35 yards before he was tackled at the Patriots’ 34-yard line. Miller took over from there. It took only three plays for the Aces to go up 21-7 early in the third quarter.
Miller opened the possession with a 17-yard run and after an incomplete pass attempt he finished off the drive with a 17-yard TD scamper with 11:34 left in the quarter.
Miller and running back Seth Klepper scored a touchdown apiece in the final quarter to finish off a long night for the Patriots.
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com, 419-724-6302, or on Twitter @demmonsblade.