LIBERTY CENTER — The Colonel Crawford Eagles found themselves playing catch up for most of it’s Friday night game with the Liberty Center Tigers in the first round of the Division VI Region 22 football playoffs.
In the end, the Tigers proved to be too much and held off the Eagles for a 28-20 victory. The victory allows Liberty Center to advance to take on the No. 1 seeded Patrick Henry Patriots next Friday.
The Eagles finish the season at 8-3. The other two losses for the Eagles this season were against conference foes and playoff bound teams, the Wynford Royals and the Seneca East Tigers.
Look for more photos from the game in our online gallery.
Liberty Center dominated the first quarter, jumping out to a 14-0 lead. Zack Carpenter, the big workhorse back for the Tigers, scored the two touchdowns in the period on an 18-yard run and a 3-yard touchdown run.
Crawford adjusted on defense and were able to hold Liberty Center scoreless in the second quarter. Thanks to a huge 84-yard pass reception by Owin Seevers from Hayden Bute for Crawford’s first score, the Eagles would go into the locker room down by just one score, 14-7.
After halftime, the Eagles provided the only score of the third quarter courtesy of a 1-yard plunge by Blake Treisch, and another Spencer Mutchler extra point to knot the score at 14 apiece.
But Zack Carpenter from the Tigers was quick to change that with another rushing touchdown, this one from 5-yards out and just four seconds into the crucial fourth quarter. The added PAT put Liberty Center up 21-14. Carpenter was not finished however and put a tremendous amount of precious on the Crawford offense while grinding out their defense. Carpenter would add one last touchdown, an 8-yarder, to put the Tigers up 28-14.
Colonel Crawford’s final score was a 44-yard scoring pass from Bute to Seevers with 1:04 left to go in the game. The Eagles missed the PAT and would be unable to recover the onside kick, making the final score 28-20.
The Eagles Hayden Bute had a very uncharacteristic, but welcomed night under center. Bute was 11/15 passing on the evening with 238 yards and two touchdowns. His primary target was Owin Seevers. The duo connected five times for 165 yards and two touchdowns on Friday. Kaleb Landin also snagged three catches for 24 yards, Blake Treisch had two catches for 17 yards and Ethan Studer had a solo grab for 32 yards.
As for the bread and butter for the Colonel Crawford Eagles, the rushing game, was able to gain 134 yards on 31 attempts. The Tigers were on to the Eagles game plan in which Crawford adjusted very well. Treisch was the leading rusher with 112 yards on 19 carries, well below his season average. Trevor Shawber couldn’t get it going against a strong Tigers front line defense, carrying the ball nine times for just 13 yards. Bute gained nine on three carries.
It was a very clean game played on both sides of the ball on Friday night. Liberty Center had just five penalties for 45 yards while Crawford had just two penalties for 10 yards. The game saw just one Eagles’ fumble, in which they were able to recover, and no other turnovers for either team.
As for the Eagles defense, they gave up 369 yards of total offense on the night. The Tigers came at Crawford on the ground a total of 48 times that equated to 274 yards. Zack Carpenter and North West were responsible for most of the yardage with Carpenter doing all of the Tigers’ scoring. Through the air, Liberty Center quarterback Jarrett Krugh was just 5/7 passing for 95 yards. Jake Lohr had the only sack on the night for the Eagles.
In other Northern-10 Athletic Conference playoff action, the Seneca East Tigers lost to the Ayersville Pilots, 49-0 and the Wynford Royals defeated the Gibsonburg Golden Bears by a final score of 22-6.
The Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference had three of its four playoff teams in actions on Friday as well. Jonathon Alder lost to Bishop Hartley, 35-21. River Valley lost to Indian Lake, 34-7 and Centerburg was defeated by Fort Frye, 44-6. Pleasant plays Eastwood on Saturday.