Photos Courtesy of Griffin Studebaker
The Loveland Tigers hosted the West Clermont Wolves in a pivotal game to determine seeding in the OHSAA football playoff bracket. Both teams had already clinched a playoff spot, so each team was just trying to prove themselves to the ECC and the Cincinnati football community.
The Wolves started out scalding hot, sacking Loveland quarterback Jake Svitkovich (12), and forcing a turnover within the game’s first three plays. The Wolves kept their dominance going on both sides of the ball, as they capitalized on the turnover to create points. They drove 33 yards in 6 plays, capped with a 4 yard rushing touchdown by backup quarterback Bo Rickman, and the Wolves started out 7-0.
However, the Tigers weren’t out of it just yet. They went 69 yards in just 5 plays, led by a couple of Colton Endicott (11) rushes, including his 19 yard touchdown run that tied the game at 7.
The Tigers defense has been dominant their last few games, but the Wolves offense couldn’t be stopped. After a 44 yard run by Chris Henry Jr. helped set them up deep in Loveland territory, they drove down inside the red zone, and stole the lead right back with Rickman’s second rushing touchdown of the game, making the score 14-7.
After punts from each team, the West Clermont defense came up big again, as Connor Prewitt knocked the ball out of Julius Vorbroker’s (11) hands, and Henry Jr. scooped it up and took it 67 yards to the endzone, extending the Wolves lead to 14.
The Wolves had the momentum in a tight grasp in the first quarter and never let go. Another forced fumble two minutes later by Shaun Pouncy set the Wolves up in plus territory again. Bo Rickman punched in his third touchdown of the game and the Wolves went into the half with a commanding 28-7 lead.
The Wolves came straight out of the intermission with all their momentum behind them, and continued to push the ball down the field. Rickman found Brandon Holder down the left sideline and he waltzed in for a 62 yard touchdown. Bryon Earley would punch in another touchdown from 22 yards out and Rickman would find Holder again for a 21 yard touchdown, and the Wolves prevailed over the Tigers 49-13.
The Tigers defense had really been unstoppable the last 5 games, but this game was an exception. West Clermont pounded the ball on the ground, with nearly 300 yards rushing, and, despite only throwing 9 passes, they added two long touchdowns through the air as well.
The Tigers regular season is now complete, and the postseason is about to begin. Loveland will visit the Withrow Tigers in a tough matchup. Withrow went 7-3, with a 5-0 record in the Cincinnati Metro Atlantic Conference. They are led by quarterback Troy Montgomery and receiver Galen Combs on offense. The defense is headlined by Quinterrius Jeimson, who leads the CMAC in sacks. The Tigers offense will need to be able to move the ball against this fast, and athletic Withrow defense. The Loveland defense will need to fly around the field to be able to contain this high scoring offense.