The Washington Court House Blue Lions and the Miami Trace Panthers huddle up before a play on a game during week 10 on November 1, 2019.
The Washington Court House Blue Lions and the Miami Trace Panthers huddle up before a play on a game during week 10 on November 1, 2019.

Washington Courthouse Uses Fourth Quarter Rally To Win Thriller Over Miami Trace

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WASHINGTON COURTHOUSE, Ohio- Rivalry week brings out the best in a football player and often leads to memorable games. That was certainly the case as the Washington Courthouse Blue Lions (7-3) rallied back to beat the crosstown rival Miami Trace Panthers (5-5) 40-33 in what was perhaps the best game of the 2019 season.

After trailing 30-12 in the fourth quarter, the Blue Lions outscored the panthers 28-3 over the final quarter to pull off the victory thanks to phenomenal play by a couple of big-time players. This game had the emotion of a textbook rivalry game. Hard hitting, big plays, scrums and a memorable finish. For the seniors who played their final game, they can hold their heads high knowing they gave it their all and played a remarkable game to end their career.

Miami Trace returned the opening kickoff into Washington Courthouse territory to set up shop. During the drive, Blue Lions defensive back Trevaughn Jackson intercepted a pass, but Panthers wide receiver Joshua Gilmore immediately ripped the ball from Jackson’s hands to give the ball right back to the Panthers. A couple of plays later, quarterback Dalton Mayer found Gilmore on a streak to the endzone for a 23-yard touchdown to put Miami Trace ahead 7-0.

Washington Courthouse would respond with a six play, 86-yard drive, capped off by a 27-yard touchdown run by Jamie McCane. However, a taunting penalty would force them to kick from the 18-yard line. The PAT would be no good, making it 7-6.

Late in the first quarter, Mayer would run the read option, carry it himself and explode past a group of Blue Lions defenders on his way to the end zone to put the Panthers up 14-6.

Both teams would play good defense until near the end of the half, when Courthouse would get the ball at the Miami Trace 47-yard line. McCane would pull of runs of 8, 9, and 7 yards and finally a 23-yard TD run. Four plays, 47 yards, all of them carries by McCane. Their 2-point conversion would be no good, sending it to the half with the Panthers up 14-12.

The third quarter would be all Miami Trace. After forcing a fourth down stop deep in their territory, Miami Trace would set up shop on their own 6-yard line. Panthers running back Jayden LeBeau would get the ball and pull off back-to-back carries of 21 and 47 yards. Mayer would then find Matthew Haddox over the middle for a 27-yard touchdown. The PAT would be no good, making it 20-12.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Panthers would recover a fumble to get the ball right back. The Blue Lions defense would hold them to a field goal as kicker Justin Shoemaker would knock through a 26-yarder to extend the lead to 23-12.

On Courthouse’s ensuing drive, quarterback Ethan Rogers-Wright’s pass would be intercepted by Andrew Amore to give Miami Trace the ball again. Mayer would continue his dominant performance as he would toss his third touchdown pass of the game, this one to Gilmore for a 30-12 lead.

Heading into the fourth, the Panthers defense had played brilliantly. They were limiting Player of the Year candidates Eli Lynch and Ethan Rogers-Wright, and other than a couple long runs by McCane, the Blue Lions offense looked flustered. However, that would all change in the fourth quarter. On one of the first plays of the fourth quarter, Rogers-Wright would roll out of the pocket and launch one deep down the sideline that Lynch would haul in and race into the end zone. The Blue Lions would go for two and convert, making the score 30-22.

On the Panthers next drive, miscommunication between Mayer and one of his backs would lead to a fumble that would be recovered by Courthouse. On third down from the 14-yard line, Rogers-Wright would fire one to the back of the endzone that Lynch would snag for the touchdown. The PAT would be no good, making it 30-26. In less than 90 seconds, the Blue Lions had made it a one possession game.

On Courthouse’s next drive, Rogers-Wright would hurl one down the field and Calum Brown would haul it in and burst down the sideline 78 yards to the house for the go-ahead touchdown, giving the Blue Lions their first lead of the night and a 33-30 advantage. In less than four minutes, the Blue Lions had gone from looking like they were on the verge of being blown out, to having the lead.

Miami Trace would take it on their next drive and be forced to punt on fourth down. Or so the Blue Lions thought, as when the Panthers lined up in punt formation, the ball was directly snapped to Mayer who would run through a big hole created by the offensive line and pick up the first down. A horse collar tackle would move them inside the Washington Courthouse 10. The Panthers would have the ball on the 1-yard line, but a delay of game penalty would move them back and would force them to kick a field goal. This proved to be a big moment as instead of the Panthers having the lead, they would only tie it 33-33.

Washington Courthouse would pick up right where they left off. After their passing game had been the story of the fourth quarter up to that point, they went back to running it with McCane, who would cap off their go-ahead drive with a 9-yard touchdown to go up 40-33 with 47 seconds left.

The Panthers would put up a last-ditch effort and get the ball all the way to the Courthouse 30. Mayer would launch a Hail Mary into the end zone that would be intercepted, ending one of the best games in recent memory.

The Blue Lions would finish with 544 yards of total offense. Ethan Rogers-Wright completed 12 passes for 277 yards and three touchdown passes. Eli Lynch was the leading receiver for the Blue Lions with five receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Jamie McCane was a workhorse in the backfield as he finished with 31 carries for 220 yards and three touchdowns.

The Panthers would finish with 431 yards of total offense. Dalton Mayer threw for 145 and three touchdowns to go along with 56 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. Josh Gilmore hauled in four for 54 and two touchdowns. Jayden LeBeau was the leader in an ensemble of rushers as he finished with 16 carries for 148 yards.