Fliers upset top-seeded Keystone
LaGRANGE — Consider the party spoiled.
Keystone was hosting its first home playoff game and the game was standing-room only at best.
The Wildcats even jumped out to a two-touchdown lead.
But, eighth-seeded Clyde responded with 28 unanswered points including three second-half touchdown passes by Ryan Lozier as the Fliers defeated top-seeded Keystone 28-20 in a Division IV Region 14 quarterfinal Saturday.
Clyde improves to 7-4 overall and will face fourth-seeded Shelby next Saturday at Frost-Kalnow Stadium at 7 PM.
“It is huge,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “You learn from your past experiences. Ryan learned a little bit from last year’s first-round playoff game.”
Lozier completed 9-of-14 passes for 123 yards and added nine carries for 45 yards for good measure. The big performance from Lozier comes one year removed from a pick-six interception thrown by Lozier that sealed a loss to Rocky River at home.
“Seeds do not mean anything in high school football,” Lozier said. “You can beat anybody on any given night. We learned that from first-hand experience.”
The turnaround started late in the second quarter for the Fliers. After a punt, Clyde took over at the Keystone 48 and Lozier picked up 10 yards for a first down. His seven-yard run later resulted in another first down before Gunner Golden rumbled 18 yards to the Wildcats’ 8.
Two plays later, Nick Webb bursted through the middle for a five-yard score and Victor Guzman-Moreno added his first of four extra points to get Clyde on the board with 2:27 left until halftime.
Keystone (9-2) took over and used some big runs to get down to the Clyde 25. But, a short gain, a holding penalty, and an incomplete pass kept the Fliers within a touchdown at halftime.
“I told the guys at halftime that we did not play that badly in the first half,” Carter said. “What we did do was we shot ourselves in the foot. I thought the score at the end of the first half to make it 14-7 was huge. Holding them to not allow them to score was big.”
Knowing they were within striking distance, Clyde came out on fire in the third quarter. A face mask penalty pushed the Fliers inside Keystone territory, and a key 17-yard pass from Lozier to Webb gave Clyde a first down.
Lozier then hit Carson Rieman on a bubble screen and Rieman did the rest of the work. He shook and juked his way through the Keystone defense and scored on a 25-yard touchdown to help tie the game.
The Wildcats took over and immediately did what they did a lot of in the first half — allow quarterback Jacob Shackelford to make plays with his feet. The shifty senior exploded through the middle for a 28-yard pickup, but lost the ball on a fumble which was recovered by Derick Coleman.
Then, a healthy dose of Lozier and Golden on the ground helped Clyde chew up chunks of yards on the ground. Golden had the biggest runs of the drive — gains of 11 then 12 yards for first downs. Once inside the 10, Lozier again found Rieman for a touchdown, this time for six yards and a 21-14 lead.
Keystone put a lengthy drive together in response. The Wildcats went 13 plays as the third quarter ended, but a huge sack by Remington Norman ended the drive and Keystone punted.
Clyde picked up two first downs on the first two plays of its next drive, but went back to punt near midfield. The Wildcats were whistled for a roughing the passer penalty to give the Fliers new life.
Golden ran for 10 yards and Webb added an 11-yard run following the penalty and later, Lozier hit Adam Koviak in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown. Suddenly, Clyde led 28-14 with exactly five minutes left.
“For us to go on the road as a lower seed and play in a hostile environment, I was proud of the guys,” Carter said. “To not fold up the tent after the first half and come back in the second half speaks volumes of our kids.”
Keystone did add a two-yard touchdown run by Shackelford with 40 seconds left. The lead remained 28-20 as Webb blocked the extra point and Clyde secured the win when Golden recovered the onside kick attempt.
“We were the No. 1 seed last year and we know the feeling,” said Carter of the 24-14 loss to Rocky River last year. “That was not very much fun and we were trying to turn the tables. Fortunately for us, we were able to do that.”
The start was not kind too Clyde. Koviak did intercept Shackelford on the opening drive, but the Fliers went three-and-out. The Wildcats were forced to punt and it was partially blocked by Clyde.
That would have set up the Fliers in good field position, but it hit a Clyde player and was recovered by Keystone. The Wildcats took advantage as a 46-yard run by Shackelford set up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Shackelford to Deghan Rigda and Keystone led, 7-0.
The Fliers moved the ball better on their second drive and had the ball at the Keystone 34 as the second quarter started. A holding call negated a first-down pass from Lozier to Rieman and Clyde was forced to punt.
Shackelford again put the Wildcats on his shoulders, as a 70-yard run got Keystone down to the four-yard line. Dylan Naylor covered that distance on the next play and the Wildcats were up 14-0.
Carter noted the play of Robbie Greenslade was big.
“We were a little thin on the defensive line this week,” Carter said. “For him to step up and do what he did was big. He had a couple sacks and played well down the stretch.”
Shackelford ran 20 times for 179 times. The Clyde defense made its best adjustments at halftime as he ran eight times for 32 yards in the second half. Even further, he ran seven times for four yards after the first offensive play in the second half.
“We played better and we challenged the kids at halftime,” Carter said. “He had (147) yards at halftime and we were not going to win the game if he had that many yards in the second half. We tried to limit him. He is a good player.”
Golden paced Clyde with 21 carries for 122 yards. Rieman caught five passes for 74 yards — one week after he hauled in nine passes for 137 yards against Bellevue.
“There are not many athletes like Carson,” Lozier said. “I know if I put a ball anywhere near his vicinity, he is going to make a play.”