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Beaver Local rallies to deny Buckeye Local

YORKVILLE — When a football team has only won once in the last five seasons, with most of its losses coming by wide margins, it isn’t used to being in a position to come out on top. That’s where Buckeye Local found itself Friday night.

The Panthers hung tough with visiting Beaver Local, leading 20-7 at the half, before running out of gas in a 21-20 setback at World War II Memorial Stadium.

“We’ve got to do better in the second half in finishing. Hats off to Beaver. They came out and put two (TDs) on the board (in the second half),” Herbert said while trying to figure out what went wrong after the intermission. “I can’t be happier with our kids’ effort. We had a chance there at the end … a chance to win it, so we’re now starting to play the way I know we can.

“The 25 kids dressed I couldn’t be happier with,” he added. “You always want to win without a doubt, but I’m proud of them tonight. We’ll keep moving forward for the next couple.”

Buckeye Local (1-6) led 8-0 after driving 80 yards on a dozen snaps. Fullback Charles Smith capped the march when he bulled in from a yard out with 38 ticks left on the first-quarter clock. Quarterback Seth Richardson, who picked up a key first down with a 12-yard run on fourth-and-11 from the 13 to keep the drive alive, found Gino Barber for the two-point conversion.

It quickly became 14-0 as Richardson found speedy junior Hayden Taylor for a 23-yard scoring connection with 8:04 showing before the half. The two-point pass failed.

The Beavers (4-3) answered right back with a 10-play, 67-yard drive of their own. Junior quarterback Tanner Johnston rolled left where he found Dorian Jackson in the flat for a 5-yard scoring play. Chase Flati delivered the first of his PATs for a 14-7 reading.

Before the Beaver Local faithful could savor the touchdown, Taylor took the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to the house as the margin was restored to 20-7. Once again the try for two failed.

“We missed a couple extra-points where we didn’t get the two-point conversions and that ended up hurting us,” Herbert pointed out.

The Lisbon-based Beavers cut into the lead on their first series of the third quarter. Discarding the passing attack, head coach Mike McKenzie relied on his offensive line and the running of Jacob Kane and Johnston in the second half.

“I told the kids before the game that Buckeye Local was going to come out and fight. You’re always worried about overlooking a team that hasn’t had much success lately, but I know their coaches over there would have them ready,” the Beavers head coach said. “We made some adjustments. Early in the game we couldn’t get outside of them. The two brothers at end (Luke Darrah and Hunter Darrah) are excellent ends.”

Kane capped an 8-play, 67-yard march with a 15-yard scamper around right end. Flati made it 20-14 with 5:48 in the third quarter.

The Panthers recovered a fumble near midfield near the end of the third frame, but couldn’t generate any movement before punting.

Beaver Local, after an incomplete pass on first down, ran the ball nine consecutive times as Kane went in from a yard out with 6:45 remaining to play. Flati split the uprights for a 21-20 lead.

“We made a couple of blocking changes in the second half to get outside their ends, and it worked,” McKenzie added. “Four-and-three is a lot better than 3-4.”

Buckeye Local had two chances to win the game late, but neither materialized. It drove to the Beavers’ 11 before four straight incompletions halted the first opportunity. Then, after a pass interference penalty on Beaver Local gave the hosts possession at the visitors’ 30, a 15-yard hookup put the ball at the 15. However, some miscommunication allowed the clock to run out.

Kane finished with 100 yards and the two scores on 21 carries. Johnston ended with 76 stripes on 17 totes.

Richardson passed for 232 yards on 13 of 26. He tossed one touchdown. Brian Palmer Jr. had five catches for 39 yards. Taylor landed two for 66 and Corbin Westfall had two receptions for 54.

“Facemask penalties are killing us,” Herbert stressed. “I know the kids are hustling and reaching out to make tackles. I don’t think there’s no malice in them, but they are killing us right now.”

The Panthers were flagged nine times for 110 yards.

Buckeye Local travels north on Ohio 7 next Friday to Patterson Field in East Liverpool.

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