Edgewood rallies to beat Piqua in OT

TRENTON -- After losing to Piqua by a touchdown in last season’s Division II, Region 8 semifinals, the Edgewood Cougars had no doubts about who they wanted to face in this year’s second round after the brackets were revealed a couple of weeks ago.

“We knew we wanted to play them even before we played Lima Senior,” senior running back-linebacker Tavionne Crosby said, referring to Edgewood’s first-round win.

The Cougars got their wish and made it pay off. After falling behind, 14-0, in the first half, Edgewood scored three unanswered touchdowns, a comeback capped by Crosby’s 9-yard touchdown run in overtime and clinched by junior running back-defensive back Braden Sullivan’s end zone interception of Brady Ouhl’s pass for a 21-14 win at Kumler Field in Trenton.

“I was excited and a little scared,” the 6-foot, 185-pound Sullivan said about his immediate post-interception reaction. “I was afraid my teammates were going to pile up on top of me.”

The 11-1 Cougars, seeded third in the 16-team region, advanced with its 11th consecutive win to the a semifinal matchup next Friday against No. 10 Anderson, a 34-20 winner over No. 15 Little Miami. The neutral site will be announced this weekend.

“We didn’t give up,” Edgewood coach Scott Clemmons said. “We stayed even keeled.”

Clemmons admitted that the impact of the win hadn’t quite hit him yet.

“It probably will when I’m in bed about one or two in the morning,” he said. “We’re going to enjoy tonight and get back to work tomorrow.”

Junior running back-defensive back Ky Warner scored touchdowns on runs of 10 and 3 yards for the visiting Indians, who finish the season 9-3.

The 6-foot-1, 189-pound Warner, who ranked fifth in the Miami Valley League in rushing, helped give Piqua a 7-0 lead with a touchdown on a pitch from Ouhl with 4:03 left in the first quarter. The Indians took a 14-0 lead on Warner’s 3-yard run and senior Jackson Trombley’s conversion that capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive following Crosby’s fumble that was recovered in the end zone by senior wide receiver-defensive back Dre’Sean Roberts.

The Cougars, making their third straight playoff appearance, started their comeback with a 15-play, 73-yard drive finished by Crosby’s 4-yard touchdown run with 14 seconds left before halftime.

Senior running back-defensive back Jake Valerio kept the possession alive with a two-yard gain on fourth-and-1 from the Piqua 9. Crosby scored three plays later.

Edgewood followed up on its first possession of the second half with a nine-play, 87-yard drive that ended with senior Riley Brown’s game-tying 23-yard touchdown pass to senior running back-defensive back Brick Barker.

Piqua regained possession on its own 11-yard line with 6:54 left in regulation and put together a 17-play drive that included two fourth-down conversions, one by senior running back-linebacker Sam Schmiesing’s two-yard run fourth-and-1 and the other by Ouhl’s dive for a first down on fourth-and-8 from Edgewood’s 31, but Trombley’s 43-yard field goal attempt with three seconds left sailed wide left.

The Cougars needed just four plays from the 20-yard line before Crosby powered his way into the end zone from nine yards out for the go-ahead touchdown.

“Give us the ball at the 20, we’ll take our chances every time,” Clemmons said.

“It was very emotional,” Crosby said. “We had a lot of ups and downs. After that early fumble, I was very motivated. I can’t explain how it felt. It was amazing.”

Sullivan ripped the ball out of the intended receiver’s hands in the end zone for the win-clinching interception on Piqua’s second play of overtime.

“I just didn’t want to let him get behind me,” Sullivan said. “They’ve run that play like 50 times. They were running it all night.”

About the Author