MARION — Pleasant handed Galion their sixth loss of the season on Friday night in Marion County. The Spartans took care of the Tigers 26-12 in the regular season finale for both ballclubs.
“We are really similar teams. Some of these lower teams in the MOAC are very similar,” Galion head coach Matt Dick said. “You have to give them credit, it is hard to beat Pleasant at Pleasant. We have a lot of respect for that.”
Galion’s offense got going quickly. On the first offensive play for the Tigers, Gabe Ivy sprinted 64 yards for a touchdown to give Galion an early 6-0 lead with 7:18 to play in the first quarter. Ivy finished with 109 yards rushing on 12 carries.
“We feel like our kids are pretty good against the run. That first run of the game, we were like, ‘oh man,’ but we settled down,” Pleasant head coach Kevin Klein said.
Pleasant (2-8, 2-4 MOAC) owned the second quarter, putting up a pair of scores that would give them the eventual halftime lead of 13-6. First, it was Jonah Bibler capping off a long drive with a tough 6-yard carry for a touchdown that tied the score at 6-6 with 5:51 to play before halftime.
Spencer Steed scored the Spartans’ second touchdown of the game, breaking loose on a 64-yard scamper during which the Galion defense was unable to catch up to him. He crossed the goal line with just 51 seconds left.
The Tigers (4-6, 2-4 MOAC) not only lost the lead in the second period, they lost quarterback Cooper Kent to injury.
“We lost our quarterback in the second quarter. We already repped Braxton Prosser the freshman. But to just lean on the offense the whole time, that’s tough,” Dick explained.
Prosser completed 10-of-20 passing attempts for 108 yards. If the season continues into Week 11 or beyond for Galion, they expect to lean on the freshman the rest of the way.
“Looking into next week we’ll have to do some things to help him,” Dick said.
Coming out of the half, Galion was off to a great start when Ivy took the kickoff 76 yards all the way back to the Spartans’ 10-yard line. The Tigers eventually turned it over on downs after not being able to punch it in when Pleasant turned them away at the goal line.
“I would love to have a couple play calls back, but you just have to give those kids credit,” Dick said.
For the second straight Galion drive, they faced a fourth and goal at the Pleasant 1-yard line. Sam Wegesin punched it in with 2:01 left in the third quarter to cut the Spartans lead to 13-12. The Tigers failed to convert two-point attempt that would have given them the lead. Landon Campbell came up with a key play on the drive when he caught a pass on a fourth and nine to keep the march going. He finished with a team-high 7 receptions for 59 yards.
On the next Pleasant possession, Aden Casperson caught a 52-yard touchdown pass to extend the Spartans’ lead to 20-12 with only 26 seconds left in the third quarter.
Pleasant’s defense recorded a huge stop on the following Galion drive that ended in Spartans territory. Three costly penalties stalled the Galion drive after a Dameon Kimble catch set up the Tigers nicely deep in Pleasant territory.
Casperson scored after Pleasant took over on downs. The speedster took the end-around and bounced it to the outside before sprinting to the end zone from 22 yards out at the 6:59 mark of the fourth period. That score gave Pleasant its final margin of victory, 26-12.
Campbell was the man on the following Tigers’ drive that felt like it was must-score. Campbell caught four passes on the drive to get Galion downfield. Galion attempted a trick play that went awry.
Pleasant’s Nic Depuy then picked off a pass and returned it deep into Galion territory to put a damper on any Tigers’ chance to turn the game around.
“We weren’t perfect and we’ve been like that all year,” Klein said. “Offensively, we were physical and defensively we had some big stops.”
Pleasant rolled up 378 yards of offense, including 272 yards rushing. Galion finished with 236 total yards.
Galion hopes to squeeze into the playoffs despite having a losing record.
“Who knows, maybe we have one more game. I told them to expect that there will be. We’re going to have some wrinkles to put in and we’re going to have fun,” Dick said.
Following Friday’s action, Ohio prep football computer rankings guru Joe Eitel shows Galion in the playoffs at No. 15 in Division IV, Region 14. Eitel’s rankings are unofficial. He maintains a database on his website joeeitel.com.
Galion was No. 14 in Division IV, Region 14, according to the latest official OHSAA computer rankings. The final official rankings and playoff pairings will be released on Sunday.
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