SPARTA — Highland had two things Galion did not on Friday night, Dane Nauman and six forced turnovers.
The Scots (6-2, 5-0 MOAC) protected their home field with a 35-21 win over the visiting Tigers to keep their Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Championship hopes alive.
“One game at a time and one practice at a time,” Highland head coach Ty Stover explained.
“I thought we played really physical with a physical football team. I thought our defense played great all night,” explained Galion head coach Matt Dick. “Offensively we couldn’t beat the turnover bug.”
Highland was able to strike first on a one-yard tote by quarterback Kolton Stover. It was 14 quick points for the Scots, thanks to an interception returned for a touchdown by Dane Nauman. Nauman jumped a route and ran 28-yards for the score.
It was another night of work for Nauman who carried the rock 29 times for 279 rushing yards. The junior now sits at 1,858 rushing yards on the season with at least two games left.
Galion (4-4, 3-2 MOAC) quickly rebounded. The Tigers got on the board when Frankhouse punched it in from a yard out. The following kickoff was an on-side recovery by Gabe Ivy.
“We were not very sound defensively tonight. That’s hats off to Galion. They trade and go off-balanced and do a lot of different things we haven’t seen for a while,” Stover stated.
Ivy capped off a 46-yard drive with a two-yard carry to tie it up at 14. To get near the goal line, Braxton Prosser hit one of his favorite targets Landon Campbell multiple times. Campbell caught five passes for 54 yards overall.
On the ground, Galion’s leading rusher Ivy had 72 yards.
Stover found Gavin Toombs for a 22-yard touchdown with 4:29 till half to take the lead into the break. Stover finished this one 9-of-14 passing for 65 yards and the score.
Galion turned the ball over three times in the first half as Cooper Kent threw two interceptions, while Prosser had one.
“The passing game never got going, the running game never got going. It was all spotty and that makes it hard,” Dick stated.
The Tigers were able to tie it up at 21-all in the third quarter on a 14-yard Prosser run. The quarterback bobbled the ball before taking off for a nice run. Throwing the ball, Prosser was 9-of-22 for 99 yards, as well as 59 yards on the ground.
Highland retook the lead on a 38-yard carry for the area’s top running back, Nauman.
“He (Nauman) always gets going,” Stover said with a grin. “We get into that third quarter and the game is close, we like to rely on those five or six guys up front and put the ball in 42’s hands.”
Highland forced a Prosser fumble in Galion territory shortly after, then Nauman punched it in from three yards out.
Late miscues on the offensive side of the ball did not allow Galion to put much together after tying the game at 21. The Tigers’ offense put together 281 yards of total offense.
“We’re going to get back to the film. We couldn’t run a base offense tonight,” said Dick.
The Scots turned 52 offensive plays into 372 yards. Of course, 279 of those yards belonged to Nauman on the ground.
Next week for Highland is a road game against River Valley. The Tigers will welcome Marion Pleasant for their homecoming game.