Tri-Valley Uses Overtime to Eliminate Top Seed Bellefontaine

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The Tri-Valley defense was in a familiar place; backed up against their own goal line in the first overtime.

The Bellefontaine Chieftains had forced the Scotties into this predicament three times during regulation and scored all three times with two touchdowns and a chip-shot field goal.

This time, Bellefontaine was set up with first and goal from the two-yard line with the game tied at 30.

On first down, Jerome Smith picked up a yard.

On second down, Dezmin Lyburtus was stuffed. He was stuffed again on third down.

On fourth down, the Chieftains passed on the easy field goal for a third straight Lyburtus run.

Tri-Valley blew that up for a loss of one.

Three plays later, Scotties’ (11-1) running back Caleb Craig ran it in from eight yards out to clinch a 36-30 victory to send Tri-Valley to the Region 11 finals.

Way back in the first quarter, the game had the feel of one that could be special. On the opening drive, the top seeded Chieftains went 73 yards in 14 plays to take a 7-0 lead. Lyburtus scored from a yard out to cap off a drive that ate up nearly seven minutes of the first quarter.

Tri-Valley, the Region 11 5-seed, wasted no time tying the game back up. Andrew Newsom and his offense needed only six plays to go 62 yards. Newsom ran it in himself to tie the game with 2:40 to play in the opening quarter.

The Chieftains would retake the lead early in the second with Lyburtus’ second rushing touchdown of the night. The quarterback scored on a 24-yard run. The PAT was blocked, but Bellefontaine still held a 13-7 lead.

Craig took the Tri-Valley response into his own hands, rushing six times on the Scotties next possession for 68 yards and a 4-yard touchdown. The Chieftains however would return the favor on the PAT and block it to keep the score tied at 13.

Bellefontaine followed that up with another 14 play drive, this one spanning 88 yards and ending with running back Garrett Gross getting into the end zone to put the Chieftains back on top, 20-13, going into halftime.

The Scotties tied the game back up at 20 coming out of the half thanks to a quick four play, 61-yard drive. This time Newsom did it with his arm, finding Jake McLoughlin for a 41 yard score.

Bellefontaine responded to retake the lead again, this time however, the weren’t able to cross the goal line and had to settle for a Derek Robb 21-yard field goal to give the Chieftains a 23-20 lead.

Both teams were forced to punt on each of their next drives, setting Tri-Valley up with the ball on its own nine with 24 seconds to play in the third quarter.

What the Scotties did next topped all of the long Bellefontaine drives in the game.

Tri-Valley went 91 yards in 19 plays to score the go-ahead touchdown. Newsom found Dow Cameron on a crossing route for a 12-yard touchdown to give the Scotties a 27-23 lead to end a drive that bled 9:24 off the clock.

With just three minutes to play, the Chieftains did something they hadn’t done yet in the game: scored quick. Thanks to a 58-yard run from Gross that put Bellefontaine inside the Tri-Valley 10, the Chieftains were able to regain the lead 30-27 with just 1:39 to play.

Once again, the Scotties turned to Newsom to orchestrate a drive to give Tri-Valley a chance to win or tie in the final seconds.

He did just that.

Newsom completed 3 of 6 passes for 74 yards on the drive to put the Scotties in Chase Dinan’s range.

Dinan did what he needed to do and drilled a 40-yard field goal to tie the game at 30.

Bellefontaine knelt down to burn the final 20 seconds off the 4th quarter clock to send the game into overtime.

For the Chieftains, it was Lyburtus who led the way. He finished the game with 234 total yards, 160 rushing and 74 passing, and scored three touchdowns. Gross added another 148 yards and one touchdown on the ground.

Tri-Valley got great games from its starting backfield.

Newsom finished with 157 passing yards and two scores while adding another 48 yards and a score on the ground. Craig ran through the Chieftain defense all night to the tune of 177 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Scotties running back averaged over seven yards per carry on the night.

Next week, Tri-Valley will face the 3-seed Bishop Hartley Hawks in the Region 11 finals.