MARION — Galion hit the road in Week 5 and lost a tough Mid Ohio Athletic Conference battle to Marion Harding, 24-15.
“With the turnovers and to give up 24 points to a good Marion Harding offense, I’m okay with that,” Galion head coach Matt Dick said while praising his defense following the loss.
The loss ended a two-game winning streak for the Tigers, who had registered consecutive lopsided wins over Upper Sandusky (31-0) and River Valley (42-25).
Harding bounced back from a 27-24 upset defeat at the hands of Pleasant with the Week 5 victory against the Tigers.
The first half started off with Marion Harding capitalizing off a Galion fumble. Quarterback Brady Wink hit Wesley Stokes for a 20-yard touchdown to start the scoring at the 8:14 mark of the second quarter.
Just before the halftime break, Galion (3-2, 1-1 MOAC) got on the board when Jorden Borders got open on the wheel route for a 44-yard touchdown pass from Cooper Kent with just four seconds remaining in the half. Kent completed 10-of-21 passing attempts for 132 yards.
The TD grab was Borden’s lone catch of the game. Gabe Ivy caught 5 passes from Kent for 63 yards.
Late in the third quarter Hanif Donaldson took the ball up the sideline for a 71-yard touchdown sprint. Donaldson could not be caught on the fourth down run to make it 15-7 Tigers after the two-point conversion. Donaldson rushed for a game-high 113 yards on 18 carries. He also had 4 catches for 25 yards.
Presidents quarterback Brady Wink would answer with a 49-yard scamper of his own that would hit pay dirt. Wink then connected with Kyrie Scott for the two-point conversion to make it 15-all. Wink completed 4-of-13 passes for 89 and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed for 79 yards and a score.
“We need to practice harder to get used to speed like this. They had dudes everywhere,” said Dick.
Following a stalled Galion drive, Harding’s Kobe Johnson blocked Landon Campbell’s punt in the end zone for a safety that gave the Presidents a 17-15 lead with 9:00 left in the game.
“We had all types of opportunities that we let slip away and we are going to see that film. We’re going to see what we can do to put our kids in a better position,” said Dick.
Off the free punt, Harding (3-2, 1-1 MOAC) would again hit pay dirt. Wink connected with Stokes on a 56-yard pitch and catch for the walk-in touchdown to make it 24-15 with 6:22 left in the game. Stokes had to fight off tough defense to make what turned out to be the game-winning grab. Stokes finished with 4 catches for 132 yards.
“(Stokes) had a great night. We’ve watched him on film. He made a lot of plays. It’s not like we didn’t know who he was. Bottom line is they have athletes everywhere. They’re going to put their athletes one on one with yours,” Dick said.
Galion was never able to answer after a turnover on downs. The Presidents controlled the ball until just 19 seconds remained in the game.
“Repeatable plays that don’t involve Hanif Donaldson are a real struggle for us. We’re going to keep looking at it,” Dick explained.
Dick joked that a cold front might be useful for his ballclub, but noted that there is more work to do in order for the Tigers to keep improving.
“The heat with our big O-line — we are not heat people. If the temperature could cool down a little bit that would help us,” Dick said jokingly. “We have to be more sound upfront. I think we were sound against River Valley, then it was different this week. We have to look at that.”
Galion returns home to face a tough Week 6 challenge when Clear Fork visits Unckrich Stadium. Clear Fork (3-2, 1-0 MOAC) blew out River Valley (3-2, 0-2 MOAC) 41-19 in Caledonia on Friday night.
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