by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
CANAL WINCHESTER — Jalen Jennings had 126 of his 222 yards and Aiden Rogers ran for two scores in the second half as Harvest Prep bounced back from a 10-6 halftime deficit to move on in the Division V playoffs with a 21-10 win over Amanda-Clearcreek.
“We minimized mistakes in the first half,” AC coach Steve Daulton said. “The second half, we had a one play drive and an immediate fumble, then a couple of tackles for loss, one was a sack – that was the stuff we were able to minimize and we were able to do good ball control in the first half.
“They just started making plays that we turned around and weren’t answering. You get to this point of the season, you can’t shoot yourself in the foot.”
The Aces had the ball to start the second half with a 10-6 lead, got a first down on their first play but were forced to punt four plays later.
The Warriors responded with a 10-play drive, keyed by a 37-yard run from Jennings. Rogers went the last six yards for the score and then ran in a two-point conversion to make it a 14-10 Warriors’ lead.
The Aces had a good return on the ensuing kickoff to start the new possession at midfield. But on the first play of the new series, the Aces lost control of the ball and Jennings pounced on it for Harvest Prep. Six plays later, Rogers went in from a yard out and the PAT kick put his team up 21-10.
AC’s next possession stalled out around midfield and resulted in a punt.
Harvest Prep ran 10 plays before fumbling the ball and AC’s Tayvon Miller got control.
The Aces picked up a first down in advancing the ball to midfield. Then, facing a fourth-and-10 at the 50 and the clock ticking under seven minutes, the Aces went for it but the pass went through the receivers hands.
That was the last play AC ran as the Warriors went with six straight runs by Jennings and then mixed in two passes for first downs with another Jennings run to take the final minutes off the clock.
The first half was a better story for AC.
The Aces scored on their first possession of the night with Nate Hunter connecting with Hunter Matheny on a 27-yard scoring play. Jonathan Weaver’s PAT had AC up 7-0.
AC held the Warriors but their ensuing possession ended with a fumble.
Harvest Prep returned the favor as the Warriors fumbled on their second play and Peyton Cassley recovered.
The Aces picked up a first down, but again saw their possession come to an end with a fumble.
This time Harvest Prep made the most of the situation and used four plays to cover 43 yards with Rogers connecting with Justin Bautista for a 16-yard score. The PAT kick was wide leaving the Aces up 7-6.
After trading possessions, the Aces were facing a fourth-and-12 near midfield with the second half clock winding down. They lined up to punt, but Nate Hunter took the snap and connected with Grant Guiler on a 37-yard pass.
Four plays later, Weaver converted a 22-yard field goal with 31 seconds left to give the Aces a 10-6 lead.
“We felt like points right there at the end were critical. We felt like we could take a shot at it.” Daulton said. “We told them we weren’t holding anything back tonight.
“The kids executed great and then Jonny pounded it in there. That was a real big field goal right before half.”
The Aces had 176 of their 221 yards of offense in the first half.
Harvest Prep ended the night with 382 yards, 277 on the ground.
The Warriors (10-2) advance to take on Columbus Academy in the regional semi-finals next Saturday. The teams met in week 3 with the Warriors winning 49-14.
Amanda-Clearcreek finishes the season with a 7-5 record, having made the postseason for the 21st time in school history. Daulton said the success of this year’s team stems from the seniors and what they learned from the classes before them.
“We graduate a phenomenal class of leaders. They’re very good football players as well and great young men,” he said. “We put a lot on the shoulders of our senior class, and they saw the seniors do it before them. When we do those things — hard work and a lot of effort — successes are going to come.”
Harvest Prep 21, Amanda-Clearcreek 10
By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Amanda-Clearcreek 7 3 0 0 10
Harvest Prep 0 6 15 0 21
AC — Hunter Matheny 27 pass from Nate Hunter (Jonathan Weaver kick), 4:55.
HP — Justin Bautista 16 pass from Aiden Rogers (kick failed), 9:59.
AC — Jonathan Weaver 22 field goal, 0:31.
HP — Aiden Rogers 6 run (Aiden Rogers run), 5:38.
HP — Aiden Rogers 1 run (Wonder Harris kick), 3:30.
First downs 12 20
Rushing yards 26-68 42-277
Passing yards 153 105
Comp.-Att.-Int 11-23-0 11-14-0
Total yards 221 382
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 2-2
Penalties-Yards 5-45 8-70
Punts-Ave. 3-28 0-0
RUSHING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Nate Hunter 14-17, Tayvon Miller 1-(-6), Hunter Matheny 7-35, Grant Guiler 4-22. Harvest Prep — Aiden Rogers 11-60, Jalen Jennings 24-222, Marchello Cox 6-(-2), Javion Green 1-(-3).
PASSING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Nate Hunter 11-23-0-153. Harvest Prep — Aiden Rogers 11-19-0-105.
RECEIVING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Trent Hedges 1-(-4), Tayvon Miller 3-44, Cade Young 2-16, Hunter Matheny 2-44, Brady Sharp 1-18, Grant Guiler 2-35. Harvest Prep — Chandler Burrell 2-25, Artrell Sanders 3-30, Justin Bautista 5-50.