Perrysburg’s JP Newton tackles Avon quarterback Tommy Glenn during the first quarter Friday night in Huron, Ohio. Glenn threw a 32-yard TD pass and ran for a 54-yard score in Avon’s win.
HURON, Ohio — With less than eight minutes to play, Perrysburg seemed poised to pull an upset in its Division II football regional semifinal Friday night.
But Avon quickly reclaimed the lead, and a fourth-quarter comeback fell short as the Yellow Jackets lost 24-21 at Huron High School.
“This is the best year we have ever had,” Perrysburg senior Nick Fleming said. “I’m honored to play next to these guys, but all good things must come to an end.”
Trevor Hafner, a sophomore, made his first varsity start after Perrysburg quarterback Gus Dimmerling broke two ribs last week against Akron Ellet. He completed 22 of 41 passes for 317 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Hafner also ran for 73 yards on 16 carries.
Perrysburg's Matt Mesker breaks up a pass intended for Avon's Gerett Choat during the fourth quarter Friday night in a regional semifinal game.
PHOTO GALLERY: Perrysburg vs. Avon
“He did great,” Fleming said. “He is one of the greatest quarterbacks I’ve seen, he has a great arm, and is confident.”
Avon (12-0) will play Medina Highland (12-0) next week in the Division II regional finals. Perrysburg finished 9-3 with a Northern Lakes League championship.
The Yellow Jackets' Nathan Patterson looks for an opening. Patterson's seven-yard TD catch gave the Jackets their first lead, 21-17, late in the game.
Down 10, Fleming grabbed Perrysburg’s third interception of the night and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. With the extra point, that trimmed Avon’s lead to 17-14.
After a stop, Perrysburg went 91 yards on its next possession, which ended on Hafner’s seven-yard TD pass to Nate Patterson. That gave the Yellow Jackets their first lead, 21-17, with 7 minutes, 53 seconds left.
Avon answered with a quick drive that ended with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Glenn to Zack Torbert with 5:11 to play, making it 24-21. The Eagles made that lead stand.
Perrysburg had two possessions with less than five minutes remaining. Hafner was sacked on fourth down to end both drives.
“We found a way to win today, and that’s what you have to do in the playoffs,” Avon coach Mike Elder said. “We fell behind but had a great drive to come back. It wasn’t our prettiest performance, but credit Perrysburg for that.”
Two fumbles, an interception, and two blocked field goals ended long drives for the Yellow Jackets.
Perrysburg's Trevor Hafner, a sophomore, made his first varsity start. He completed 22 of 41 passes for 317 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
“Turnovers hurt us, and our kicking game has been our weak spot all year long,” Perrysburg coach Matt Kregel said. “It ended up costing us against a great team today.”
Avon scored first on a read option that fooled the Perrysburg defense as Glenn kept it for a 54-yard touchdown run with 7:26 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles went up 10-0 with a 33-yard field goal with 9:48 left in the second quarter.
Perrysburg countered with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Hafner to Matt Kaczinski, making the score 10-7.
Avon answered with a quick drive that ended with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Jake Sopke to Braeden Friss with 1:35 left in the first half. The Eagles led 17-7 at halftime.
It was the second consecutive year Avon bounced Perrysburg from the playoffs. Last week, the Yellow Jackets won their first playoff game in school history.
Contact Matt Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.