LEBANON — Springboro clawed its way out of a 21-0 hole and ripped the Greater Western Ohio Conference South Division title from Lebanon in triple overtime Friday night, 49-42.
Junior running back Jalen Campbell ran around the left end for an 8-yard touchdown in the third OT and the Panthers defense stopped Lebanon on four downs to end the dramatic struggle.
“That was an unbelievable effort on both teams’ part,” Springboro coach Ryan Wilhite said. “For young men to play under that kind of pressure for three overtimes, they showed unbelievable character and effort. I’m proud to be a part of a game like that.”
Panthers quarterback Josh Little — who completed 21 of 36 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns — plunged in from a yard out with 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining in the game to tie the score at 28-28 and force OT.
That capped a comeback that saw the Panthers (7-3, 4-0 GWOC South) overcome a 21-0 deficit in the second quarter.
“We got ourselves in a hole, and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t worried,” Wilhite said. “But this team has battled from behind all year and that helped. We had faith and believed in each other and found a way to win the game.”
Lebanon (5-5, 2-2) appeared to win the game in the second overtime.
After Brody Wolf hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Luke Morgan, the Warriors seemed to stop Springboro on four downs. But a pass interference flag on fourth down gave the Panthers new life, and Little capitalized with an 8-yard strike to Jeron King.
“It seemed like we were always just one play away from a victory,” Lebanon coach Shawn Lamb said. “We just couldn’t get that one bounce, that one call, to go our way,” he said. “I’m proud of our seniors. They battled through some tough times and represented us well.”
Lebanon jumped to the early lead on a 28-yard strike from Morgan (13 of 26 for 195 yards) to Wolf, a 52-yard interception return by Zach Blaha and a 26-yard TD run by Dyllon Miles.
Springboro answered with a 4-yard pass from Little to Josh Lakes and a 9-yard pass from Little to Dustin Devoe to make it 21-14 at the half.
A 1-yard plunge by Little on the opening drive of the third quarter tied the score at 21 before Lebanon regained the lead on a 17-yard run by Aaron Abbott (15 carries, 96 yards) in the fourth.