Blue Devils shock No. 7 Seneca East in OT
ATTICA — Momentum is a scary thing for an underdog to possess.
Carey — which came into Friday night’s game at No. 7 Seneca East 2-4 overall — made big play after big play when it counted to pull off the upset of the season in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference with a 26-20 victory in overtime.
“We got back to some basics. The start of the year we played some really good teams. We finally are getting to the point where the offensive line is jelling together and we are cleaning up some of the mistakes,” Carey coach Jonathon Mershman said. “I haven’t used this all year … with a youthful team you will have some mistakes and I think at the beginning of the year we had that. Now, we are growing up.”
With Seneca East (6-1, 3-1 N10) leading 20-12 and 7:57 left in the fourth quarter, Carey went on a 15-play drive which lasted 6:16. The Blue Devils just kept moving the chains, converting three third downs and a fourth-and-1. On the 15th play, quarterback Ethan Beringer dropped back to pass and threw a rainbow in the rainy, windy dark sky that found the hands of Cade Crawford for a 20-yard TD with 46 seconds left. Crawford bobbled the pass initially, but grasped the ball before sliding out of the end zone.
Down 20-18, the Blue Devils called timeout and set up the two-point conversion. Reece Billock got the handoff out of the Maryland I over the right guard and dove into the end zone to tie the game at 20.
Carey’s Bryce Conti picked off a pass on Seneca East’s last drive to force overtime.
“We just drove it down, calm and collected, found our way into the end zone,” Mershman said.
On Seneca East’s possession in OT, with the ball slightly underthrown to Jake Siesel in the end zone, Conti intercepted another pass.
Needing just a score for the upset, Billock ran left for 14 yards and was shoved late out of bounds, which tacked on more yards after the play. Beringer ran up the middle for two yards to the 3-yard line and then Connor Williams took a handoff up the gut in the Maryland I and won the game.
“Crawford and (Ian) Yeater have done a tremendous job this year stepping up. Ian played last year and Cade came out again this year and he really stepped up for our team and they are doing great things,” Beringer said. “In the beginning of the season, we made some mistakes against Leipsic and Bucyrus, Galion definitely, but I think this really tells people what kind of team we are. We lost a couple close games and this gives us the opportunity to get our name back out there in the N10.”
Seneca East started well Friday with an 11-play drive capped by a 1-yard plunge for a TD by Kane Lynch.
Carey responded with a 1-yard TD by Williams to knot the game at 6 after one quarter. Lynch put the Tigers ahead again in the second quarter on a 9-yard run to give them a 12-6 lead at the half.
But the score came at a price as running back Skyler Walker exited the game on the two-point try with what looked to be an ankle injury, SE coach Ed Phillips said. He did not return.
“We use the saying, ‘Event, plus response, equals outcome,'” The way we are going to handle this is going to be the best thing that’s ever happened to us,” Phillips said, “because it’s going to make us focus even more and get better what we need to get better at and come together. That’s key to something like this … you use it to try to galvanize yourself and come together and that’s what we’re going to do. I know our guys and I won’t give them any other option and there is no other option.
“We lost just one thing tonight and that was the chance at a perfect season. That’s it. We can still go out and play well the last three weeks, still win the N10. Hats off to Carey. They played a great game tonight and Coach Mershman did a great job of getting his kids ready. They got momentum at the end there, so hats off to them.”
Seneca East made it 20-6 in the third quarter on a 20-yard pass from Chase Foos to Siesel.
Carey turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing drive, but got the ball right back on a Seneca East fumble. The Tigers had five turnovers, while Carey had four.
Brady Curlis ran in a 3-yard score to cut the score to 20-12 at the end of the third quarter.
Foos had 147 total yards of offense for SE, while Lynch added 41 yards on the ground on nine carries.
Beringer threw for 145 yards and ran for 91 more for Carey, who improved to 3-1 in the N10. Crawford was his top target with four grabs for 62 yards. Yeater caught two balls for 52 yards.
“We were 2-4 and there’s pretty much anywhere in between 2-4 where we could have been if we did this or if’s and but’s for candies and nuts, everyday would be Christmas … but we are passed that,” Mershman said. “Now we are just focused on doing what we can control and what we can do.”