Fliers fall to Minutemen in OT

PHOTO BY STEVE WILLIAMS Clyde running back Frank Sewell hands the ball to the official after scoring on a hard-earned touchdown, and before he is consumed by the celebration of his teammates against Lexington Friday night.

CLYDE — In the end, it came down to trust, and Lexington had plenty.

Quarterback Logan Pfizenmayer raced through a hole off the right side for the conversion in overtime Saturday as the Minutemen slipped past Clyde 29-28 in a Division III quarterfinal.

“We were going to go for the win,” Lexington coach Taylor Gerhardt said. “My boys came to me and said, ‘We want the win, coach. We can do it.’ And I believe in them. That’s what we tell each other all the time, you’ve got to believe in each other, trust each other and believe in each other, and I trusted them and that win’s on them.

“The key to this win is resiliency. The kids never, never quit, and they settled down after a slow start and got rolling,” he said. “We knew that (Clyde) was going to come back out swinging, and they did. Those kids don’t know how to quit, but neither do we. That’s the kind of game you get when you have never-quit teams.”

The two-point conversion came after Pfizenmayer’s fourth TD run of the night, and after Clyde went up 28-21 when Logan Riehl reeled in a 20-yard scoring pass from Lucas Nicely on the Fliers’ opening play in OT.

Then the Minutemen went to work, with Pfizenmayer leading the way.

He rolled right for 9 yards on second down, bulled for another 2 one snap later to set up first-and-goal at the 9, and covered that distance off the left side after faking a handoff to Hunter Biddle.

That final TD carry let him finish with a game-high 101 yards rushing on 17 carries.

“He’s got that kind of galloping gait and he doesn’t look as fast as he really is. I tell him he runs like a hunchback all the time, but that boy can go,” Gerhardt said. “But let me also tell you, he’s also the strongest kid on this team. You can’t bring him down with one man.”And that’s only when Clyde could get a hand on him.

Pfizenmayer capped 60-yard, nine-play march with a 1-yard dive on the first play of the second quarter to put the Minutemen on the board, but they still trailed 7-6 after Ian Moore’s PAT boot just missed to the right.

Clyde opened the scoring with Jaylan Johnson catching a 5-yard Nicely toss midway through the first quarter.

It stayed 7-6 until just over two minutes remained in the half, when Clyde’s John Jackson booted a 64-yard punt to pin Lexington at its own 6.But Biddle ran for 13 and Pfizenmayer threw passes to A.J. Nickoli and Cade Stover to reach Lexington’s 36.

Then Pfizenmayer dropped back to pass, got pressured and scrambled.He didn’t stop until he scored 64 yards later, then hit Stover with a conversion pass to put Lexington up 14-7 with 48 seconds left in the half.

Clyde had a promising drive in the third quarter fizzle out, and turned the ball over on downs at the Lexington 19. But Tony Gerrell fumbled on Lexington’s first play and the Fliers recovered at the 10.

Frank Sewell covered that distance on three carries, with the last covering 4 yards to knot the score at 14 with 1:04 left in the period.

It stayed that way until the fourth, when Jackson hauled in a 4-yard TD toss from Nicely for a 21-14 lead with 3:54 left.

Lexington answered, with Pfizenmayer again leading the way.Passes to Stover and Gerrell helped get the ball moving before Pfizenmayer found a wide open Stover for a 47-yard gain to the Clyde 9.

“They did a nice job with their routes tonight,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “It’s difficult to cover up everything when they have such a good running game and kids that can run the football. It’s difficult to cover everything up, but I thought our kids played with a ton of heart and played it all the way to the end, just they made a couple more plays than we did.”

Pfizenmayer then capped the drive with a 9-yard option run, and Moore’s PAT boot tied the game again, this time with 1:09 to play.That was nearly enough for the Fliers.Biddle ran for 9 and 27 yards and Nicely hit Logan Winke with a 9-yard toss to the Lexington 34. Nicely’s 3-yard run on fourth-and-1 kept the drive going, and he spiked the ball with 10 seconds left.

The Flies then tried for the go-ahead score, but Gerrell picked off Nicely in the end zone.

“We were not in field goal range yet. We needed quite a bit to get in field goal range, so we were going to try to take a shot and let our kid make a play, and they made a play over the top,” Carter said. “Good football team, they just made a few more plays than we did tonight.”

Pfizenmayer also threw for 218 yards, with Stover hauling in eight passes for 173 yards.

Sewell’s 96 yards on 21 carries paced Clyde, with Nicely throwing for 197 yards. Jackson caught six passes for 79 yards.

But Lexington just found a way when it needed to, Carter said.

“They made some really quality plays,” he said. “We jumped out with the lead in the first part of the overtime and just couldn’t get a stop. You can’t point to any one single thing, it’s plays throughout the entire night.

“At this point, for our seniors, it’s hard to take,” he said, “but they’ll reflect back and (we) had a good season.”