PIQUA — It was like two rams butting heads on a mountain.
Ottawa-Glandorf and Columbus Hartley kept pounding away other. Neither one gave an inch.
Then, O-G fumbled and Hartley jumped on the lone mistake of the night.
Hartley capitalized on the fumble and posted a 41-31 victory over Ottawa-Glandorf in the Division IV football regional championship game Friday at Alexander Stadium.
Hartley, ranked No. 1, stands 13-0 and advances to face Clinton-Massie (13-0) in the state semifinals next Friday. O-G ends its year 12-1.
“Our kids played with a lot of heart,” O-G coach Ken Schriner said. “… It’s unfortunate when you can’t come out with a win. You hate to lose one like that. The kids battled their tails off.”
O-G led 17-14 at the half and the Titans were clinging to a 31-27 lead with 8:13 to go after a 30-yard TD run by quarterback Caleb Siefker.
Hartley then came back with a 9-yard TD run by Marcellus Calhoun. That gave the Hawks a 34-31 lead with 5:16 to go.
O-G started to drive again in the offensive track meet type of game. But Siefker lost a fumble when he bobbled the snap.
Hartley linebacker Nick King recovered at the O-G 37 with 3:53 to play.
Six plays later, Calhoun scored on a 2-yard run and the Hawks’ lead grew to 41-31 with 2:16 to go.
O-G, needing two scores, drove to Hartley’s 19. On first down, the Titans went for a field goal. Siefker missed a 26-yard field goal with 1:17 to go.
Hartley kneeled down on its victory after that.
Both teams ran over each other most of the night.
Titans tailback Tristan Parker ran for 124 yards on 21 carries. Siefker finished with 127 yards on 17 carries. Siefker had TD runs of 18, 1 and 30 yards.
“I didn’t know who they were because their offensive line was blowing us back so much,” Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said. “I couldn’t tell who their skilled players were. Their offensive line was fantastic.”
Meanwhile, Calhoun zig-zagged his way down field for 149 yards on 19 carries with two TDs. University of Toledo-bound Ja’Wauan Woodley had 99 yards on 18 carries with one TD.
“They were big on the line and our guys had to get low and play physical with them all game,” Woodley said. “In the second half, we had to believe in ourselves and found our groove.”
In all, Hartley ran for 297 yards with 393 total yards. O-G ran for 269 yards with 324 total yards.
“It was two teams that laid it on the line, smacked each other around,” Schriner said. “One team made a couple more plays than the other. I’m proud of the way our kids played and I think we really left it on the field tonight.”
O-G scored first capping a 10-play, 77-yard drive. Siefker’s 8-yard TD run gave O-G a 7-0 lead.
But Hartley needed only two plays to tie it. On its second play, Woodley, off the halfback option pass, fired a 56-yard TD to Alonzo Saxton.
O-G made it 14-7 on a Siefker 1-yard TD.
Hartley tied it at 14 on a 4-yard Woodley TD with 10:03 left in the second.
Hartley’s defense finally made a stop, but O-G came away with a 29-yard field goal by Siefker. That gave O-G a 17-14 lead with 1:02 left before the half.
“We needed to score on every possession and we knew at halftime that 17 points wasn’t going to be enough,” Schriner said.
Burchfield added, “We turned it over no times, they turned it over once. That was the difference in the game.”