MHS’ Colton Powers (32) runs for big yardage on Friday against Toledo Whitmer. Powers rushed for more than 200 yards during Marysville’s 49-14 victory. (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)
There is really no other way to describe it.
The Marysville High School football team absolutely destroyed Toledo Whitmer, 49-14, during Friday’s Division I-Region 2 semifinal playoff game.
The contest was played at Lima Senior High School.
“We executed at a very high level on both sides of the ball,” said MHS head coach Brent Johnson as his No. 1-seeded Monarchs upped their record to 12-0.
The Monarchs rolled for 453 total yards, while the Panthers finished with 335.
“I also feel our physicality was a big factor in the game,” said the coach.
The triumph puts the Monarch gridders in the regional championship game for the first time since 2000.
They will face No. 2 Springfield at 7 p.m. on Friday (location to be announced Sunday).
The Wildcats (11-1) kept their season alive by defeating No. 6 Findlay (9-4), 13-0, on Friday during the other semifinal game played at Bellefontaine High School.
The fourth-seeded Panthers (who bowed out at 10-3) went to a bag of tricks to begin the game.
Marysville was set to receive the opening kickoff, but Whitmer was able to field an onside effort that gave it the ball on the MHS 45-yard-line.
Johnson said his team had seen the Panthers pull off that trick on film.
“We talked about it before going out there, but we were over-aligned and Whitmer just executed that better than we did,” he said.
The move gave the Panthers a short field and the running attack of 260-pound quarterback Kevin Hornbeak and Jaylen Young advanced the ball deeper into Monarch territory.
Hornbeak picked up a first down with an 18-yard run on fourth down to keep the series alive.
The Whitmer signal-caller missed on a couple of passes before Young pushed the ball down to the MHS 13.
The Panthers faced fourth-and-two at that point.
Hornbeak tried to muscle his way to the first down, but was stopped short.
Johnson said it was important for the Monarchs to halt Whitmer’s drive after the onside kick.
Marysville’s impressive ground game, which finished the contest with 430 yards, overwhelmed Whitmer’s defense on its first offensive series.
Gabe and Colton Powers shared duty with Griffin Johnson as the Toledo defense simply could not stop the running attack.
Gabe Powers took the ball on a reverse and went on a 67-yard jaunt for the first touchdown.
JJ Riggsby’s PAT gave MHS a 7-0 lead with 5:32 left in the opening quarter.
The Panthers kept the ball for only three plays before they had to punt.
It was more of the same as Whitmer had no answer for Marysville’s backfield triumvirate of Powers, Powers and Johnson.
They bulled and sliced their way on a scoring series that moved into the second quarter.
Marysville faced fourth-and-five about midway through the possession while the game was still in the first quarter.
Gabe Powers went back to punt, but kept the ball on a fake.
He ran to the TW 23 for the first down.
Powers had pulled off the same type of play earlier in the post-season by calling his own number.
This time, “I called the fake,” said Coach Johnson.
MHS held on to the ball for six more snaps before Griffin Johnson scored from five yards out.
The extra point was good to push Marysville out to a 14-0 margin early in the second period.
The Panthers showed their undisciplined side for much of the contest.
The Monarch defense also shifted into a higher gear as it kept pushing Whitmer back behind the line of scrimmage.
Toledo had to punt and gave Marysville another short field at the Panther 30.
Johnson went to the left side and cut back for a nice gain.
The Monarchs were aided when Whitmer was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction.
That put the ball on the Panther three-yard line.
Gabe Powers blasted into the end zone for the ensuing touchdown.
Riggsby was again spot-on with the PAT as MHS elevated its advantage to 21-0.
A tipped pass on third down left the Panthers no alternative than to once again punt.
The kick from deep in Whitmer’s territory turned the ball over to MHS at the Panther 43.
Colton Powers, who finished the game with 206 yards on nine carries, softened up the Whitmer defense with a 13-yard run.
He took the next handoff and raced 30 yards for the score.
Riggsby’s point after pushed the Monarchs out to a 28-0 lead.
A holding penalty, delay of game infraction and a recovery of their own fumble slowed the Panthers’ next possession.
Whitmer, however, was still able to mount its first scoring drive of the game.
Hornbeck connected with a pair of receivers, including a long pass to midfield.
He and Young also ate up huge chunks of real estate on the ground.
Hornbeck found Evan Hart on a pass that put the ball on the Monarch three-yard-line.
From there, Jayden Gibson went into the end zone.
The touchdown marked the first points Marysville has yielded to an opponent during the first half the entire season.
Rayan Farhan’s PAT cut the Panthers’ deficit to 28-7.
Although Whitmer celebrated the score, it quickly learned a valuable lesson.
DON’T POKE THE LION!!
The Monarchs immediately responded on their first play from scrimmage after the TD.
MHS had the ball on its own six-yard-line after the kickoff.
The timer showed only 56 seconds left before halftime.
That was plenty of time for Colton Powers to work his magic.
He split the Panther defense up the middle and was off to the races.
His 94-yard touchdown run was followed by Riggsby’s PAT that pushed Marysville out to a 35-7 spread.
Whitmer got the ball back with 43 ticks on the clock.
Three plays later, Hornbeck’s pass from picked off by Monarch Tanner Powers.
That gave MHS the ball on the Panther 39, with plenty of time to try for another score.
Quarterback Brady Seger hit Colton Powers with a 23-yard pass.
MHS added another five yards as the clock rapidly wound down.
The Monarchs called timeout with one second until the break.
Riggsby came on for a 27-yard field goal attempt.
The kick, however, was blocked, but MHS took a 35-7 margin at the break.
The third quarter kickoff was bobbled by the Panthers.
Once the return man got his hands on the pigskin, he was loudly and firmly dropped at the four-yard line by MHS’ Cameron Jones.
Five plays allowed Whitmer to move only 11 net yards to its own 15.
The Panthers had to punt on fourth down.
Another kick from deep in Whitmer territory again gave MHS a short field at the Panther 38-yard line.
Colton Powers carried down to the 16.
Older brother Gabe finished the quick burst by covering the rest of the way into the end zone.
Riggsby pushed Marysville out to a 42-7 margin with his PAT.
At that point, the running clock rule was invoked and remained for the rest of the contest.
Whitmer lost the ball on downs and the Monarchs punted as the third quarter gave way to the final period.
The Panthers moved into MHS territory early in the fourth quarter.
They tried to keep things moving on fourth down, but Jones intercepted Hornbeck’s pass.
The Monarchs were slapped on the wrist for a block in the back on the interception return.
That pushed the ball back to their own 23.
The infraction, though, was of little consequence.
Colton Powers rambled through Whitmer’s first and second levels of defense and stiff-armed his way to the Panther 41.
Johnson carried on two consecutive plays for 17 yards.
Matt Krutowskis got into the act as he earned six tough yards through the Toledo defense.
Johnson later took the final snap of the series and motored 18 yards for the score.
Marysville rose to a 49-7 advantage on Riggsby’s extra point.
The Panthers regained possession with a little more than five minutes left in the game.
They were able to score a consolation TD against MHS’ younger players.
Gibson carried the ball five yards into the end zone.
Farhan put the game’s final point on the board with the PAT.
Marysville’s offense then ran off what little time was left.
Griffin Johnson of Marysville attempts to keep his balance on this play. The Monarchs advanced in the Division I playoffs with a 49-14 regional semifinal triumph over Toledo Whitmer. The game was played at Lima Senior High School. (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)