Fliers stop Titans, claim regional crown
Clyde will make its first state semifinal appearance since 2013
FINDLAY — Clyde intercepted Ottawa-Glandorf three times in the first three quarters and cashed in every time.
But, one last forced turnover by Clyde was the biggest of them all.
Sophomore Remington Norman recovered a fumble with less than two minutes left and a first down run by Gunner Golden sealed the eighth-seeded Fliers’ 17-10 Division IV, region 14 regional championship win over sixth-seeded O-G at Findlay’s Donnell Stadium on Saturday.
“We played a tough schedule,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “If we just got in, we felt like we had a good team and we could try to string something together here.”
With the win, Clyde improves to 9-4 and will face defending state champion Cincinnati Wyoming (13-0) at Marysville High School next Saturday in the state semifinals.
“We had won four times in this game,” said Carter of regional championships in 1994, 1995, 2005, and 2013. “We have building blocks in our locker room and the last one was legacy — what do you want your legacy to be? They wanted to get a fifth time to set that legacy.”
The defense for the Fliers was key on the night. They held both of O-G’s top rushers to under 60 yards and forced the Titans to go three-deep in the quarterback depth chart. The 10 points allowed is the third-lowest total that Clyde has allowed this season.
“We held them to 10 points and we gave them the ball on a short field on the one,” Carter said. “I said we had to be sound in turnovers and sound in special teams if we were going to get it done tonight. I thought our defense just played excellent. I thought our defense really stepped up.”
Clyde never trailed and even built a 17-3 margin on a Golden touchdown run with 7:12 left in the third quarter. The Titans (9-4) picked up a quartet of first downs to get to the Clyde 22. But, a short run was followed by a pair of incomplete passes before a screen pass was stopped short of the first down to give the Fliers the ball.
Clyde used up the rest of the third quarter clock and punted to start the final 12 minutes. The Fliers forced a quick three-and-out, but a fumble on the punt return gave Ottawa-Glandorf new life. The Titans took advantage as Jarrod Beach threw a wobbly, but completed 35-yard touchdown pass to Brennan Blevins. The extra point was good, and O-G was within 17-10 with 10:10 left.
The Titans kept the momentum rolling when they forced a three-and-out and took over at their own 32 with exactly eight minutes left.
Ottawa-Glandorf used a methodical, time-consuming drive to march down the field. Beach picked up just enough on a fourth-and-one for a first down at the Clyde 46. Later, O-G completed a pass on 4th-and-2, only for a penalty to negate the play. It did not matter, as a nine-yard pass gave Ottawa-Glandorf a first down at the Clyde 33.
“They were not doing anything different,” Carter said. “Their kids were just making plays and we weren’t. They had that sense of urgency.”
A pass interference call gave the Titans another first down, this one at the Clyde 15. After an incomplete pass, the Fliers forced their fourth and final turnover with 1:39 left.
“The defense played really well,” Clyde quarterback Ryan Lozier said. “In the conditions that we had tonight, we really needed our defense to play well. You never know what is going to happen with the offense.”
A 14-yard pickup for Golden sealed the win, as Clyde went into victory formation for their first state semifinal appearance since 2013 — Carter’s first year as coach. The 17 points were the least Clyde has scored in a game this year.
“They really did a nice job of trying to take away our pass game and force us to run,” Carter said. “They stacked the box a little bit. We had a hard time running between tackles.”
O-G drove down the field on its first drive, but Carson Rieman intercepted Jacob Balbaugh to halt early momentum. Clyde used a steady run game to respond and had a first down at the Ottawa-Glandorf 14 before the Titans stiffened. The Fliers ended the 15-play drive with a 29-yard field goal by Victor Guzman-Moreno and led, 3-0.
As the clock ticked into the second quarter, the Titans pounded away at the Clyde defense on the ground. Clayton Recker picked up four yards on fourth-and-3, but O-G settled for a 27-yard field goal from Ethan Alt to tie the game.
On its next possession, Clyde turned the ball over on downs when Golden was stopped for no gain on a fourth-and-2 from its own 35. But, the Fliers’ defense came through again as Caden Berger intercepted Balbaugh and returned it to midfield.
A few plays later, Nick Webb made the biggest play of the game to that point. Facing third-and-3 at the O-G 30, Webb took the handoff and went to the left and was almost swallowed whole by the Titans’ defense.
“O-G brought a bunch of guys to that side,” Carter said. “I almost stopped in my tracks, but I looked to my right and there was nobody there. They over-pursued.”
And when Webb made the cut back, his offensive line and others followed for a 30-yard touchdown run. What was nearly a stop for a loss became the game’s first touchdown with 2:16 left until half.
“We knew coming in that we were going to have to stop the run,” Carter said. “Trying to stop them from running the ball was the whole key tonight.”
Clyde led 10-3 and took the second half kickoff, but was unable to pick up a first down. The Fliers were forced to punt.
But as it did all night, the Clyde defense came to the rescue. This time it was Chevon Bulger who stepped in front of a Balbaugh pass for the turnover.
Golden exploded for 12 yards on first down and later, Carson Rieman hauled in a 24-yard pass to the O-G 2. On the next play, Golden covered that distance and Guzman-Moreno added the extra point.
“I did not feel coming out of halftime that we had a very good drive at all,” Carter said. “I had to use a timeout on the punt and it was not a good start. We got an interception and took advantage, which was huge.”
Rieman had five catches for 57 yards while Webb tallied three receptions for 17 yards. The Fliers have been on an incredible four-week journey that started with a Week 10 home win over Bellevue in which Clyde had to win to even have a chance to make the playoffs.
“Going into week 10, we had to win to get in,” Carter said. “For us to still be playing on Thanksgiving is huge. When you have to worry about the elements and it is snowing, you know you are playing late into November and you are doing something right.”