NORTH LIMA, Ohio (WYTV) – In a Division V, Region 17 contest, top-seeded South Range was upset by eighth-seeded Garfield, 31-21, on Saturday. Two big plays doomed the Raiders as Garfield scored on a 70-yard interception for a touchdown and they also scored on a 89-yard kickoff return.
“You can’t make mistakes against good teams,” Raiders coach Dan Yeagley remarked. “You have a pick six and special teams mistakes that we haven’t had all year. We have done a great job special teams wise and we had a little break down. Again, it’s their athletes making plays. They did a great job.”
The Raiders took the initial lead in the game when quarterback Aniello Buzzacco dove into the end zone from just inches outside the goal line. That touchdown at the 10:43 mark of the second quarter put them up 7-0.
Following and interception by the Raiders Brian Robinson, it looked like they may score once again, but that is when Garfield’s Seth Morgan picked off a Buzzacco pass in the left flat and raced 70-yards for a touchdown and tied the game with 4:46 remaining in the half.
The Raiders would attempt to gain the lead once again just before halftime as they drove to the Garfield 31. But following three incomplete passes, Brandon Youngs 48-yard field goal attempt fell short of the cross bar, preserving the score at 7-7 at the intermission.
Garfield would take their first lead of the contest on their first possession of the second half when Kyle Borrelli rumbled in from 10-yards out at the 8:03 mark of the third quarter. That score gave Garfield a 14-7 advantage.
However, the Raiders would answer right back with an impressive 13 play, 70-yard drive with Nathan Daniszewski diving in from 1-yard out. That score with 2:35 remaining in the third quarter knotted the game at 14-14.
That is when Morgan would once again sting the Raiders with a big play. This time it was a 89-yard kickoff return to put Garfield back ahead. The extra point for the G-men was unsuccessful as they lead 20-14.
Once again the Raiders answered quickly as Daniszewski blasted through the line for a 35-yard touchdown run and a 21-20 Raiders lead. That touchdown came with only 1:48 remaining in the quarter.
It didn’t last long though, as Garfield re-took a 28-21 lead, keyed by a 71-yard run by Dalton Michael. Following Michael’s run to the Raiders 1-yard line, he would finish the drive by scoring on the next play with 1:21 left in the period. They would convert the two-point conversion to re-take an eight-point advantage.
“You see glimpses of them running the ball, and you know they have a couple of good running backs. Obviously, or they wouldn’t be here. Yeah, (they caught us off guard) we knew that wasn’t their first choice but they came back and that was their choice (to run) like I said they caught us off guard with some of their stuff. It was good coaching on their part,” Yeagley admitted.
Garfield would eat the clock most of the fourth quarter as the Raiders were not able to mount any serious threat. Garfield added three more at the 5:56 mark in the fourth on a Zachary Gorby 22-yard field goal to close out the scoring.
“It’s real tough,” Danieszewski said of the loss. “Senior year, last game of my high school career. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”
“It’s not what we expected,” Buzzacco added. “We were all hoping to go far this year in the playoffs, it’s a real heartbreak.”
Garfield outgained South Range in total yards, 378-309. Daniszewski led the Raiders with 129 yards on 20 rushes, while Buzzcco went 9 for 21 through the air for 108 yards.
The game marked the last ever being played at the Raiders home stadium in North Lima as they will move to a new stadium at the school on route 46 next year.
“Somebody asked me what is my fondest memory (of the stadium), it’s not the wins and losses, it’s the players,” an emotional Yeagley said. “I played here too. I remember my team mates, and these guys are going to remember their team mates. That’s what you remember.”
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