Updated Fri, Nov 15, 2013 11:58 pm
After a season full of game experience, offenses are normally clicking on all cylinders, providing exciting shootouts come playoff time. On Friday night in Meadowbrook, Ohio, however, the defenses came out swinging, leading to a sloppy scrum between the Philo Electrics and the Indian Valley Braves.
The Braves used a second half score and a massive Electrics miscue in the waning moments to secure a 7-3 victory in the regional semifinals.
Gridiron Glory Player of the Year candidate Zak Sheridan was held in check for most of the evening, as three of Philo’s five possessions of the first half ended with either a three-and-out or a turnover.
Even though he absent on the offensive side of the ball, Sheridan’s play on the defensive side of the ball was a large reason why the Electrics held a 3-0 lead at halftime. Sheridan broke up two deep Indian Valley passes to the end zone and nearly intercepted another pass when the Braves were approaching the red zone.
While Sheridan and company were busy slowing the Indian Valley passing attack, the Electrics’ defensive front attempted to stall a rushing attack that has averaged 325.5 rush yards per game this season.
Indian Valley’s Jake Davis, a running back that has accumulated 1,768 yards and 27 total touchdowns on the season, was kept in check for most of the night until scoring the game’s lone touchdown in the third quarter.
The Electrics led, 3-0, in the first half after a Nathan Delozier field goal, but threatened to score again and to go up by two scores. Running backs Luke Miller and Delozier picked up solid chunks of yardage and led the Electrics on a drive down near the red zone. The tide turned quickly however, as Sheridan looked for his receiver in the end zone, but Indian Valley’s Brady Byers intercepted his pass and halted all Philo momentum.
When the third quarter began, the Braves formulated the first sign of offense in the game and marched down the field on a 12-play drive scanning 89 yards, capped by a 1-yard touchdown by Jake Davis to push the Braves into the driver’s seat.
The Electrics continued to trail 7-3 late in the fourth quarter, but Philo forced an Indian Valley punt with 1:00 remaining and earned one more chance to get in the end zone and advance to the regional finals.
As the punt was fielded, the Electrics fumbled the ball and Indian Valley pounced on it quickly, sealing a late victory and sending the Braves into a regional final matchup with the Steubenville Big Red next week.
While the season ended for Philo on Friday, the program can hang its hat on a successful year including its first ever playoff win and first appearance since 1995, as well as recording its fourth straight winning season.