- C1 FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: Momentum Helps Ashland-Greenwood Past Lincoln Christian
By Jeff Motz
ASHLAND--As the old saying goes, "Defense wins championships." In this case, it would be for helping advance Ashland-Greenwood to the semifinals of the Class C1 State High School Football playoffs.
The Bluejay defense made seven stops on fourth down and countered with two touchdowns from quarterback Gunnar Garner to earn a 33-13 victory over Lincoln Christian Tuesday night in the C1 quarterfinals at Ashland's Memorial Stadium.
Ashland-Greenwood (10-1) will host Columbus Lakeview next Tuesday in the semifinals, after Lakeview beat Wahoo Neumann 55-35.
To spark a rally from the 13-6 deficit in the second half, the Bluejays went to the ground and tied the game at 13 with 3:30 left in the 3rd quarter when Garner scored on a six-yard run.
A fake punt attempt for Lincoln Christian (9-2) early in the fourth quarter resulted in a direct snap to Noah Free, but he dropped and recovered the ball, running back six yards before fumbling again. Ashland-Greenwood recovered and eventually ended the short drive on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Garner to Bo Kitrell for a 20-13 lead with 11:51 remaining.
The Bluejays got another touchdown from Garner and another from Trevor Nichelson to seal the win. Garner had 148 yards rushing, while Nichelson racked up 149 on the ground.
Several scoring opportunities in the first half prevented Christian to build up momentum in the first half. Quarterback Logan Power scored on the third play of the first Crusader drive on a 76-yard run for an early 7-0 lead.
Ashland-Greenwood countered later on with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Craven, but a missed extra point kept Christian ahead 7-6. The Crusaders scored a touchdown late in the first half to cap an 81-yard scoring drive when Power threw a 10-yard pass to Leighton Chicoine.
Christian only had 150 yards of offense in the second half.