Colonel Crawford loses to Columbus Grove in OHSAA football playoffs

FINDLAY — In a tough and dragging football game on a snow-filled Saturday night, No. 8 seed Col. Crawford lost 14-7 in overtime to No. 5 seed Columbus Grove in a a Division IV regional semi-final.

Points were hard to come by with both defenses playing at a high level. Neither attack could have much pace, and all the flurries falling from the sky in the second half didn’t help matters.

“We were expected to win. At the same time, we knew it would obviously be a tough game,” Colonel Crawford’s coach Jake D. Bruner said. “They’re a really good football team defensively. Both teams like to run the ball, and we knew it would be a tough challenge to block their linebackers.”

Col. Crawford quarterback Kamryn Lohr steps back for a pass.  Lohr scored the Eagles' lone touchdown during the game.

Colonel Crawford’s only points came in the first quarter. After a blocked punt, the Eagles (10-3) got the ball back near the goal line, setting up quarterback Kamryn Lohr’s short touchdown for a 7-0 lead.

As tough as Columbus Grove (11-2) made it for Col. Crawford on the defensive end, the Eagles made it right away. They managed to obstruct the middle and were active with pressure on the quarterback. Gabe Thew, Parker Ketterman, Jacob Moss, Isaiah Studer and Tristin Baker were elusive playmakers throughout the game for the Eagles, who made three fourth saves in the game.

Col. Crawford running back Matt Clinard struggled to pick up yards against the Columbus Grove defense in the Division IV Regional Semifinal.

In a game that looked 7-0 in favor of Colonel Crawford, Columbus Grove responded late in the third quarter when quarterback Brenton Renner stepped back and threw a sideline pass to widened Zach Reynolds, who l grabbed it and ran to the end. zone to tie the score at 7 everywhere.

The tone of the game suddenly changed.

“Both teams are physical. Both teams were in the same position with the weather,” Bruner said. “You couldn’t see very well in the third quarter. The big play that we blew in pass coverage was tough. You’re in these playoff games and there’s a lot of momentum on both sides. You don’t have just weather the storm, and I thought our kids were doing fine.”

After a scoreless fourth quarter, the game went into overtime. The Bulldogs received the ball first and running back AJ Schafer found the end zone on the ground for a 14-7 lead. The Eagles got the ball and couldn’t get the touchdown they needed to go overtime.

Columbus Grove running back AJ Schafer scored the overtime touchdown for the Bulldogs.

“We wanted to do more, but we had a hard time blocking their linebackers,” Bruner said. “That was the difference and their ability to take our big play with the pass.”

It was an emotional post-game scene for many Eagles players as their season drew to a close. Bruner shared his last message he had for his team.

“Keep your head up,” Bruner said. “It’s been a great season for us and we’re really proud of them and their leadership. Win or lose, we wanted to keep our standards high. We’ve had a great season.”

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