Northeastern’s historic season ends with second-round loss to Brookville

Jets finish season 11-1

SPRINGFIELD — The Northeastern High School football team’s storybook season came to an end in the Division V, Region 20 quarterfinals.

Brookville High School senior Tim Davis rushed for a career-high 204 yards and three touchdowns as the Blue Devils beat the Jets 38-15 in front of more than 2,000 fans on Friday night at Conover Field.

Brookville senior running back Grady Lamb rushed for two touchdowns and junior quarterback Keegan Mehr added another touchdown for the Blue Devils, who jumped out to an 18-0 first half lead and never trailed.

Jets senior Gunnar Leonard caught four passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns for Northeastern, one from senior Cade Houseman and another from freshman Diezel Taylor.

“We picked a bad night to have a bad night,” said Jets coach Jake Buchholtz. “We know when we get into Week 12 there’s no bad teams. We just didn’t have it tonight.”

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The Jets finished their season 11-1 and won a playoff game for the first time in school history.

Northeastern also finished the regular season a perfect 10-0 for the first time since 1992 and won the outright Ohio Heritage Conference North Division title for the first time in school history.

“I’m so proud of our seniors and I’m so proud of our community for rallying around these guys,” Buchholtz said. “It just wasn’t our night tonight.”

Brookville advanced to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2015. The Blue Devils dominated the battle at the line of scrimmage, rushing for 381 yards. They also held Northeastern to 175 yards of total offense and recorded six tackles for loss and two sacks.

“Our line — it’s the same guys on both sides — they’ve been doing that all year,” said Blue Devils coach Mike Hetrick.

Lamb scored on a 2-yard run on the Blue Devils first possession. After an interception by Mehr, Davis scored on a 9-yard run to give the Blue Devils a 12-0 lead. The Blue Devils held on their next possession. Davis then scored on a 44-yard run to give Brookville a 18-0 lead.

Midway through the second quarter, the Jets recovered a fumble in Brookville territory and scored on a 5-yard pass from Houseman to Leonard to cut the lead to 18-8.

On their first possession of the second half, the Blue Devils drove 80 yards in six plays. The drive included runs of 35 and 19 yards by Davis. Brookville scored on a 2-yard run by Lamb to take a 24-8 lead.

Davis added a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter to trigger the running clock for Brookville.

“(Davis) has been getting better and better as the year has gone on,” Hetrick said. “He doesn’t come off the field. He’s our starting safety. He’s the punter returner, kick returner and our long snapper. He’s one of those guys you shake his hand before the game and say, ‘I’ll see you in a couple of hours’. He’s doing a great job, and the kids feed off of what he does. I’m really proud of him.”

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The key to the victory, Hetrick said, was containing Houseman.

“We’ve been telling our kids all year that we’ve got to be physical,” Hetrick said. “When we got up a few (touchdowns), I think we could see them start to wear down. We were able to limit (Houseman’s) plays. He’s going to get his plays. You’ve got to give him the 10, 15-yard run and not let it become a 50-yard touchdown. He’s a really good player.”

Brookville (11-1) advanced to the Region 20 semifinals and will play unbeaten Milton-Union (12-0) at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 at a site to be determined. The Bulldogs beat Preble Shawnee 42-7.

Buchholtz praised his senior class for helping restore the tradition at Northeastern. The senior class went 2-8 as freshmen, raising the bar a little bit higher each season.

“They’ve given everything to this program,” Buchholtz said. “I can’t ask for anything else out of a senior class. For what they’ve done for me as a coach and for our program, I’m not sure it can be measured in wins and losses.”

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