In Saturday's Regional Quarterfinal matchup the SEOAL champion Gallia Academy Blue Devils hosted the GCL Central champion Archbishop McNicholas Rockets, at Memorial Stadium in Gallipolis. On this wet Saturday night it would be a real fight to get control of the game. The Blue Devils would be the ones emerging victorious in the end with a 37-35 win.
The game would be a tough one from the start, as Wade Jarrell and the Gallia offense were stopped on their opening drive by the Rockets defense forcing them to punt. The Rockets would then take no time to score, getting a touchdown on their first drive of the game which was highlighted by a huge 52-yard pass by Austin Ernst to Thomas Vogele. That would put them in great position to score, as Ernst would hook up with Vogele again from six yards out to make the score 7-0 McNicholas.
That would not discourage Jarrell and the rest of the Blue Devils because he would lead his team down the field to tie it up at 7-7 midway through the first. The Rockets would then strike back quickly only needing four plays to score another touchdown, this time a quarterback keeper for 10 yards by Ernst to take the lead 14-7 late in the first quarter.
The scoring would continue into the second quarter this time by the Gallia defense as McNicholas would fumble into the endzone, recovering it for a Gallia safety.
Off of the ensuing punt the Blue Devils would push the Rockets defense down, rolling down the field and capping off the drive with a Wade Jarrell four-yard run to take the lead 16-14 with ten minutes left in the half. The Gallia defense would then get a stop and on their next offensive drive Wade would bust off a huge 55-yard run to increase the Blue Devils lead to 23-14 with eight minutes left in the half.
The Rockets would then make a comeback but not without a roughing the punter call on fourth-and-15 that put the Rockets in the red zone. They would then capitalize with a touchdown pass from Ernst to tight end Jacob Lind from 14 yards out. This would narrow the gap to 23-21 Blue Devils.
In the second half both teams would continue where they left off in the second quarter with the Rockets getting a touchdown on a 30-yard pass from Ernst to Lind due to blown coverage. This gave the Rockets the lead again at 28-23. On McNicholas’ next drive they would move into the red zone but then a fumble recovered by Ty Warnimont would give the Blue Devils a chance to take the lead late in the third quarter. Gallia would push down the field and then cap off the drive with a 13-yard Warnimont touchdown run to give the Blue Devils the lead again going into the fourth at 30-28.
In the fourth Gallia would continue the offensive attack with a 39-yard Jarrell run to push the lead to 37-28 Gallia.
McNicholas would not go away easily though. The Rockets started by picking up a fumble by Wade Jarrell, but they would not capitalize as Ernst threw an interception. Jarrell would then break off a 64-yard run to help the Gallia offense, yet the Blue Devils would fumble on the very next play.
The Rockets would then answer on a quarterback keeper by Austin Ernst that cut the Gallia lead to two with five minutes left in the game, 37-35 Gallia.
Gallia would then burn two minutes but gave the ball back to McNicholas with three minutes left and a long field to go. The Rockets would drive down the field well into Gallia territory but with less than two minutes left in the game the Rockets would fumble that was recovered by Wes Jarrell and that would be the end of it.
Jarrell passed for 88 yards on seven completions with a touchdown and ran the ball 20 times for 295 yards with three rushing touchdowns. The Gallia defense was the real deal for the Blue Devils tonight though with three sacks, two interceptions, a fumble recovery, and a safety.
Next week the Gallia Academy Blue Devils will go on the road to play Thurgood Marshall in the Regional Semifinals.