ONTARIO — Galion ended a three-game losing skid with a hard-fought 7-6 win over Ontario on Friday night. The Tigers were able to grind out the victory thanks to a good defensive performance, mainly in the second half.
“I think it was big (to end the losing streak) and I think it was kind of predictable. We knew we were going to have some tough games. It was good to get it done tonight,” Galion head coach Matt Dick said.
Galion (4-4, 2-3 Mid Ohio Athletic Conference) had dropped three consecutive Mid Ohio Athletic Conference games to Marion Harding, Clear Fork, and Shelby before getting back on track against the Warriors.
Galion got on the board first with a 44-yard touchdown run by Gabe Ivy at the 3:57 mark of the opening quarter. Ivy found a hole and could not be caught.
“Gabe Ivy is a really special sophomore. He ran the ball hard and to be honest with you looking at that second half I could have gave him a couple more carries,” Dick said.
Ivy finished with 94 yards on 11 carries to lead Galion.
While the first half was largely a defensive struggle, Ontario did manage to mount a threat and drove the ball inside the Tigers’ 10-yard line. However, Landon Kurtzman recovered a fumble to stop the Warriors’ drive.
The half ended with Galion leading 7-0. Dick was frustrated by the lack of offensive output by his ballclub.
“If you watch the film, we’re going to go back and be disgusted with some of our offensive drives,” Dick said.
On the first possession of the second half for Ontario, the Warriors (2-5, 0-4 MOAC) drove down the field and capped it off with a one-yard keeper by quarterback Bodpegn Miller. His score came with 4:44 remaining in the period and cut the deficit to 7-6. However, the missed point after attempt turned out to be the pivotal play of the game.
Galion began a possession with just over four minutes left in the game and held the ball until the 31 second mark. As was the story of the game all along, the Tigers stepped up for one last stop to close out the win. Kyle Foust picked off a long pass from Miller to end the game.
Dick praised his team’s defensive effort against Ontario.
“Those guys they play hard. They’re young but they are a great group of kids. In the first half they got beat up a little bit up front; in the second half they played stout. That was really the difference in the game,” Dick said.
The Tigers defense was able to come away with two turnovers. Carson Frankhouse also came up with an interception on a botched punt attempt by the Warriors.
“Carson Frankhouse was everywhere tonight,” Dick said.
Hanif Donaldson carried the load for Galion in the second half, rushing for 71 yards on 17 carries and making two receptions for 51 yards. Quarterback Cooper Kent connected on 4-of-7 passes for 69 yards.
For Ontario, Chase Studer was the workhorse with 21 carries for 105 yards rushing and two catches for 53 yards.
“Give that kid (Studer) credit. He’s what a sophomore? He’s going to be a beast in our league,” Dick said.
Miller finished 5-of-11 for 122 yards passing with one interception.
Galion returns home next week to celebrate homecoming. The Tigers face a tough opponent in Lima Central Catholic (7-1), the No. 1 team in the Division VII, Region 26 computer rankings. The Thunderbirds have won seven consecutive games following a season-opening loss.
“We’re going to play a really good Lima Central Catholic team. I’m sure they’re a one-loss or two-loss team at most,” Dick said. “What’s cool is we take this young team and get to play a good team. It’s good to challenge ourselves and see if we can rise to the occasion.”
Ontario plays host to Pleasant (1-7, 1-3 MOAC) in Week 8. The Spartans lost to Clear Fork 28-19 on Friday.
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