High school football: Pandora-Gilboa upends Leipsic

PANDORA — The first round of the high school football playoffs pitted two familiar foes as the Pandora-Gilboa Rockets met up with rival Leipsic.

The teams met earlier in the season with the Vikings getting the better of it with a 21-14 win, but the Rockets were looking for redemption in the rematch.

Ben Burkholder had two touchdowns and Andrew Miller added a spark late by catching an onside kick attempt by the Vikings and taking it 65 yards up the sideline for a score as the Rockets claimed a 33-24 victory.

“Andrew catching a little pop-up kick, it’s kind of a surreal moment you know,” Rockets head coach Matt Hershey said. (It looked) like he was going to get a few yards but yeah then the crowd erupted and all of a sudden you see him sneaking out there for a touchdown.”

The Vikings scored on their first possession, taking the opening drive 80 yards in nine plays capped off by a Estavan Carllio 17 yard run for a 7-0 lead with 7:23 to go.

Pandora-Gilboa went three and out on its first touch, but knotted things up at 7-7 on a 10 play drive with Miller (23 carries, 143 yards) scoring with four seconds remaining in the opening period.

On the Vikings next possession, the hosts recovered a fumble that set them up on their own 15. They launched a 10-play series that ended on a Burkholder 8-yard tally. However, a missed the conversion left the score at 13-7 with 5:14 left in the half.

The Vikings weren’t down for long, striking back with a quick two-play, 65-yarder started by a pass interference on the hosts. At the Rocket 46, Quinn Schroeder took off on a keeper off left tackle, broke a tackle and was gone to the end zone with 4:12 showing. His kick made it a 14-13 halftime margin.

The Rockets opened the third period with an eight-play drive that traveled 75 yards. Isaac Stall caught a 21-yard pass from Cory Gerten. The 2-point attempt failed with P-G ahead 19-14.

Just as with the previous Rockets score, it appeared that Leipsic would score on the ensuing possession. The Vikings used a 15-play series that began at the 43 and reached the Rocket 7. However, the drive stalled and on a 4th and goal the Rockets defense held and took over on downs.

But, Pandora-Gilboa then had a bad snap over Gerten’s head, resulting in a safety and a 19-16 P-G lead at 1:39 of the period.

Leipsic was held to a three and out series and punted.

That brought the contest to the fourth quarter and the hosts took the first drive of the final period 80 yards, capped off by a 1 yard run by Aiden Morris for a score, giving the hosts a 25-16 advantage with 6:55 to go in the game.

Leipsic replied with an eight-play, 53-yarder, ending on a 9-yard score by Estevan Carrillo (24 carries, 113 yards) after recovering a fumbled snap. Tyler Lammers found Jayce Brecht for the 2-pointer for a 26-24 deficit with 3:53 left.

Miller then caught the kickoff at the 35 and headed for the end zone, breaking a big tackle.

“I’m just happy that for our kids, for our community that we ended up on top tonight,” Hershey said.

Game summary

Score by quarters:

Pandora-Gilboa 7 6 6 14 – 33

Leipsic 7 7 2 8 – 24


L – Team 17 run (Quin Schroeder kick).

PG – Ben Burkholder 3 run (kick).

PG – Burkholder 8 run (kick no good).

L – Team 46 run (Schroeder kick).

PG – Issac Stall 22 pass from Cory Gerten (conversion failed).

L – Safety.

PG – Aidan Morris 1 run (kick).

L – Team 9 run (conversion failed).

PG – Andrew Miller 65 kick return. (kick).

Columbus Grove Lakota

17 First downs 14

368 Total yardage 293

187 Rushing yardage 64

181 Passing yardage 229

11-17-3 Passing (Com-Att-Int) 17-32-0

0-0 Fumbles-Lost 3-3

0-0 Punts-Average 3-37.7

3-30 Penalties-Yards 6-40

Individual leaders:

Passing: PG – Cory Gerten 12-17-154; L – Quin Schroeder 2-7-12.

Rushing: PG – Aiden Miller 20-130; L – Team 39-234.

Receiving: PG – Isaac Stall 5-84; L – Team 6-59.

Records: Pandora-Gilboa 8-3; Leipsic 8-3.

Dave Boninsegna wrote this story for LimaScores.com. Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242—0451.