BYESVILLE, Ohio — A late rally, but just not enough time.
The fifth-seeded Gallia Academy football team claimed 20 of the final 27 points in the Region 15 quarterfinal on Saturday at Eugene Capers Field, but it was too little, too late, as the Blue Devils fell to fourth-seeded host Meadowbrook 58-40.
Meadowbrook (8-0) began the game with a successful on-side kick, and needed just four plays to go up 6-0, as Davis Singleton tossed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jerome Todd 57 seconds into play.
Gallia Academy (6-2) — which had won five in a row headed into play — turned the ball over on downs on its first possession, and the Colts took over on their own 39. MHS needed 13 plays to cover the distance, and led 14-0 with 2:11 left in the opening quarter, as Singleton tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brady McManawary, and then ran in the two-point conversion.
GAHS cut the deficit to 14-6 on the first play of the second quarter, when James Armstrong broke a 23-yard touchdown run at the end of a seven-play, 60-yard drive.
The Colts returned the ensuing kickoff inside the GAHS 30, and led 22-6 two plays later, with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Singleton to Todd and another two-point run by Singleton.
Gallia Academy sophomore Daunevyn Woodson returned the following kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, cutting the MHS lead to 22-12 with 10:44 left in the half.
The Blue Devils held Meadowbrook to just five yards on the first three plays of the next drive, but a 23-yard pass on fourth down extended the hosts’ drive. Six plays later, the Colts were up 28-12, as Singleton connected with McManawary for a one-yard touchdown pass.
GAHS turned the ball over on downs in four plays on its next possession, and the Colts took over 46 yards from the end zone. On the eighth play of the drive, Singleton found McManawary for a six-yard touchdown pass. Singleton ran in the two-point conversion to make the margin 36-12 with 2:20 left in the half.
The Blue Devils made it into the red zone on the third play of their next drive, but Anthony Swartz stripped the ball as soon as they got there and gave possession back Meadowbrook at the GAHS 19.
The Orange and Brown went up 42-12 with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Singleton to Eric McCulloch, and they left just 22 seconds on the first half clock.
It was more than enough time for the Blue and White to answer, however, with Woodson hauling in a 70-yard touchdown pass from Noah Vanco. Armstrong ran in the two-point conversion and cut the Colt lead to 42-20 at half.
On the second play from scrimmage after the break, Singleton — who tossed six first half touchdowns — ran one in from 47 yards out. Swartz ran in the two point conversion, making a 30-point margin 50 seconds into the second half.
Exactly two minutes later, Armstrong capped off a three-play GAHS drive with a 40-yard touchdown run, trimming the Meadowbrook lead to 50-26.
The Colts’ next drive went 72 yards in 12 plays, with a one-yard touchdown run by Tyler Lacey at the 3:41 mark of the third quarter. Singleton tossed a two-point pass to McManawary for the 58-26 lead.
Gallia Academy responded with its own 12-play drive, going 62 yards with a one-yard touchdown run by Michael Beasy at the 9:35 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Meadowbrook offense was stopped for the first time on its next drive, coming up two yards short of a first down and three yards shy of the end zone on the 10th play of the possession.
GAHS turned the ball over on downs on its own four, but stopped MHS on four plays and took over at the two. After an incomplete pass on first down, Vanco found Briar Williams for a 98-yard touchdown pass. Armstrong ran in the two-point conversion, making the margin 18-points with 1:14 to play.
Meadowbrook recovered the Blue Devil on-side kick attempt, sealing the 58-40 win and the spot in the Region 17 semifinal.
For the game, the Blue Devils had a 428-to-418 advantage in total offense, including 181-to-169 on the ground. However, GAHS was penalized 10 times for 102 yards and MHS was sent back twice for a total of 20 yards.
Armstrong led the Blue Devil rushing attack with 167 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, while Beasy came up with 22 yards and a score on five rushes.
Vanco completed 8-of-16 passes for 247 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the setback. Kenyon Franklin caught a team-best three passes for 38 yards. Williams and Woodson both caught two passes, including a touchdown apiece, gaining 106 and 103 yards respectively.
For Meadowbrook, Singleton was 22-of-28 passing for 249 yards and six touchdowns, while leading the team on the ground with 126 yards and a touchdown on 23 totes. Swartz had 28 yards on 10 carries in the win, while Lacey added 27 yards and a score on 11 tries.
Todd caught seven passes for 119 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Hunter Eubanks had seven receptions for 67 yards. McManawary caught four passes for 38 yards three touchdowns, while McCulloch had four grabs for 25 yards and one score.
Meadowbrook is set to meet top-seeded St. Clairsville in next Saturday’s regional semifinal.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.