GALION — Playing with renewed confidence on offense and continued aggression on defense, Galion scored early and often Saturday at Unckrich Stadium in the first round on the OHSAA Division IV, Region 14 playoffs, en route to a 55-7 victory over Rocky River Lutheran West, which falls to 2-5 this season.
The Tigers upped their record to 4-3 with the win. But next week, the competition gets more difficult. Galion must travel to Bellevue to take on former Northern Ohio League foe Bellevue, the No. 1 seed in Region 14. The Redmen are 6-0 this season and had a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Friday’s game vs. the Lutheran West Longhorns was over almost before it started.
The Tigers forced turnovers the first two times the Longhorns touched the ball and scored off both miscues. They were never challenged after that.
They built a 28-0 lead after one quarter and led 41-7 at the break.
Quarterback Wilson Frankhouse was a catalyst for the Tigers. The senior quarterback completed 12 of 17 passes for 243 yards. He threw for six touchdowns, without an interception. He also ran the ball seven times for 34 yards and ran for one score.
Lutheran West had no answer for Galion’s many offensive weapons.
The Tigers racked up 387 total yards, including 139 on the ground.
The Tigers’ Hanif Donaldson caught only four passes, but scored three touchdowns and totaled 95 yards receiving yards. Tight end Jackson Staton caught five passes for 76 yards, with two scores. Jacob Williams caught two passes for 47 yards and one score.
Galion did not have a turnover, but forced two, an interception and a fumble recovery.
With a continuous running clock in the second half, Galion scored the first time it touched the ball on a 32-yard catch and run from Frankhouse to Donaldson, upping its lead to 48-7 with 7:04 to go in the third quarter.
Galion held the Longhorns on their first-second half possession and from then on the Tigers’ first-team offense took the night off.
Galion’s Tyler Wall keyed the Tigers’ final score, capping off a 52-yard drive with a 3-yard run up the middle. Jackson Hart nailed the final PAT and to give the Tigers the 55-7 lead with 10:06 to go.
Galion took over on downs with less than a minute to go on its own 1-yard yard and ran out the clock.
And that’s how the game ended.
The Longhorns received the opening kickoff, and promptly turned the ball over as the Tigers’ Gage Vanderkooi picked off a Carl Fuentes pass at the 40 yard-line. Vanderkooi returned it 50 yards, setting up a first-and-goal for the Tigers at the 10-yard line. Two Galion penalties moved the ball back to the 20-yard line. But on third and 20, quarterback Wilson Frankhouse dropped back and hit Staton with a pass for a 16-yard gain.
The Tigers, facing a fourth-and goal at the 4-yard-line went for the score. Frankhouse hit Staton with a 4-yard pass and he bulled his way into the end zone. Pittman’s kick put the Tigers on top-7-0 with 8:05 to go in the game.
After each Galion score, Pittman’s kickoffs pinned the Longhorns deep in their on territory.
Lutheran West’s second possession started at its own 15. On the second play, the Longhorns fumbled and the Tigers’ Williams p0unced on the ball at the Galion 12.
It took just one play to score this time, as Frankhouse handed off to Hanif Donaldson, who broke one tackle before finding his way outside and into the end zone. Pittman’s kick failed after a bad snap, but the Tigers were on top 13-0 with 7:05 to go in the quarter.
And they didn’t slow down much after that.
Galion’s next possession ended quickly with Frankhouse hitting Donaldson on the right sideline. With no defender within 10 yards, Donaldson went 44 yards for the score and Galion’s lead was 20-0 with 4:26 to go, after Pittman’s PAT.
After a second Lutheran West punt, Galion’s next scoring drive was keyed by a punishing 34-yard run by Vanderkooi, which set up first and 10 at the 12-yard yard. Three plays later, Frankhouse, on a quarterback draw, went four yards for the score and Galion’s lead was 27-0 with 1:34 to go in the first period.
The Tigers’ defense dominated through the first quarter, not allowing Lutheran west past the 50-yard line.
Galion scored TD No. 5 when Frankhouse hit Staton with a second TD pass, this one from 27 yards, to put the Tigers up 34-0 with 11:16 to go in the first half.
The Tigers made it 41-0 with 4:56 to go in the second quarter when Frankhouse tossed a pass over the head of a Longhorns’ defender to Williams, who went 41 yards for an easy score.
Lutheran West finally got in the end zone late in the first half when quarterback Carl Fuentes hit Eddie Lewis on a short pass and Lewis went 49 yards for the score, breaking several tackles along the way with 53 seconds left in the second period.
Galion’s lead was 41-7 at the break, meaning a continues clock in the second half.
In the third quarter, Galion received the kickoff and in less than fiver minutes went 52 yards for the score as Frankhouse hit Donaldson for a 32-yard score. With 7:04 to Galion, Galion led 48-7.
Galion pulled its starters with 4:36 to go in the third period.
But that barely slowed down the Tigers.
A final, long scoring drive was keyed by Galion running back Tyler Wall, who went 3 yards for the TD, making Galion’s lead 55-7 with 10:06 to go in the game, after Jackson Hart’s PAT.
Lutheran West put one more drive together in the fourth quarter, but it ended with Galion taking over on downs with less than a minute to go. After than, the Tigers ran out the clock for the victory.
Galion’s Gage Vanderkooi runs back a first-quarter interception in Saturday’s 55-7 win over Rocky River Lutheran West. The pick led to Galion’s first touchdown.
Galion quarterback Wilson Frankhouse picks up yardage via the ground Saturday at Unckrich Stadium. Frankhouse threw six touchdown passes and ran for one score.
Galion defender Jacob Williams fights off a Lutheran West block Friday in the Tigers’ 55-7 playoff win at Heise Park. Williams caught a TD pass and recovered a fumble, which led to Galion’s second score of the evening.