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Little Miami and Eaton pull biggest upsets in OHSAA football playoffs first round

Overall, nine teams seeded 13-15 defeated the teams seeded 2-4
Akron Buchtel defeats Woodridge 24-21 in OHSAA playoffs first round

Last Friday night, the Ohio High School Athletic Association football playoffs began with 448 teams taking the field.

After changing the playoff format in 2020 to allow every team to be playoff-eligible due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the OHSAA for the second consecutive season expanded the playoffs to 16 teams per region instead of the eight teams per region that had been used since 1999.

With 16 teams making the playoffs in each of the 24 regions across seven divisions, there were plenty of lopsided scores with the higher seeds taking care of the lower seed rather easily.

The top eight seeds in each region got a first-round home game – with the top four scheduled to get two home games if they won in round one – and they went a combined 178-46, with the No. 1 seeds a perfect 24-0.

However, there were some upsets.

One No. 2 seed (Xenia) and one No. 3 seed (Bishop Fenwick) did lose, as well as seven No. 4 seeds. And the No. 9 and No. 10 seeds went a combined 31-25 on the road against a higher-seeded opponent.

The only divisions without a seed lower than 12 winning a game were Division I and Division VII. Division IV led the way with three teams, two of those in Region 16, which also had a 10-seed (Kettering Archbishop Alter) advance. It was the only region that saw three double-digit seed pick-up wins. 

As was the case last season, some people are now calling for the OHSAA to drop to 12 teams per region with the top four teams receiving a first-round bye.

With that in mind, here is a look at each of the upsets that happened with a top-4 seed losing, or games that would not have happened with just 12 teams making the playoffs in each region.

Division II

Region 8

No. 15 Little Miami 27, No. 2 Xenia 24 in 2 OT

After each team made field goals in the first overtime, Little Miami freshman kicker Gunnar Hoffman nailed a 32-yard walk-off field goal to win the game in the second overtime. It was the second week in a row Hoffman made a game-winning kick for the Panthers.

Little Miami was the only No. 15 seed to win in the first round and will now advance to play No. 10 Cincinnati Anderson, who pulled an upset of their own with a 44-7 win over No. 7 Troy.

Division III

Region 9

No. 13 Kenston 40, No. 4 University School 33

Shawn Patrick had 376 yards of total offense – 264 rushing and 112 receiving – and scored four touchdowns to lead the lower seed to a win. But it was a defensive play that decided a game that featured 73 points.

With University School driving for the game-tying score late in the fourth quarter, Tymir Cardona made a spectacular one-handed interception for the Bombers in the endzone to seal the victory.

Kenston will play at No. 5 Youngstown Chaney in the second round.

Region 10

No. 13 Defiance 63, No. 4 Cloverleaf 28

Defiance went on a 42-7 run after the game was tied 7-7 to run away from the higher-seeded Colts.

Running back Brogan Castillo ran for 251 yards and scored five times on 22 carries and the Defiance defense turned over the Cloverleaf offense four times in the win.

Defiance will now play at No. 5 Mansfield Senior in the second round.

Division IV

Region 13

No. 13 Akron Buchtel 24, No. 4 Woodridge 21

Buchtel scored 24 straight points and then held on defensively in the fourth quarter to pull the upset.

Wiley Chairs scored two touchdowns in the win for the Griffins, including a highlight-reel 31-yard run in the third quarter that gave Buchtel a 24-7 lead.

The Griffins will continue to the second round, where they will play at No. 5 Canal Fulton Northwest.

Region 16

No. 13 Clarksville Clinton-Massie 38, No. 4 Chillicothe Unioto 0

The defending Division IV state champions stayed alive with a shutout win in the first round.

The Falcons ran the ball 48 times for 348 yards in the game, led by Logan Chesser with 15 carries for 167 yards and a pair of scores. Gavan Hunter also scored twice and ran for 85 yards, while Brody Clutter had 66 yards and a touchdown.

Clinton-Massie’s defense forced three turnovers and allowed just 12 first downs in the game.

Clinton-Massie now advances to play at No. 5 Urbana in the second round.

No. 14 Eaton 31, No. 3 Bishop Fenwick 28

It came down to the final minutes, as Eaton scored a touchdown with just 1:19 remaining in the fourth quarter to pull the upset when Brock Ebright scored from six yards out.

And then Gavin Winings intercepted a pass to seal the win.

After Bishop Fenwick had scored 14 straight points in the third quarter to take a 21-17 lead, the Eagles scored on a 2-yard run by Danny Caldwell to reclaim the lead.

Bishop Fenwick then retook the lead with a little over four minutes to play, setting up the Eaton heroics.

Ebright ran for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass and threw a touchdown pass in the win.

Eaton will now play at No. 6 Cincinnati Archbishop McNicholas in the second round.

Division V

Region 17

No. 13 Youngstown Cardinal Mooney 45, No. 4 Richmond Edison 14

Mooney quarterback Ashton O’Brien threw for 195 yards and four touchdowns and Tyon Flowers scored twice to help pull the upset.

Mooney scored the first 14 points of the game and then scored 24 straight after Edison had cut the lead to 14-7.

Mooney will now play at No. 5 Creston Norwayne in the second round.

Region 19

No. 13 Gahanna Columbus Academy 36, No. 4 Centerburg 14

With the game tied 14-14 midway through the second quarter, Columbus Academy put its foot on the gas and never looked back.

The Vikings scored the final 22 points of the game and held Centerburg to just 214 yards of total offense in the win.

The Columbus Academy defense picked off five passes and blocked a punt that they returned for a touchdown.

The Vikings nearly doubled the Trojans in time of possession and nearly tripled them in rushing yards.

Columbus Academy will now play at No. 5 Portsmouth West in the second round.

Division VI

Region 23

No. 13 West Jefferson 49, No. 4 Newcomerstown 14

Quarterback Austin Buescher threw for 276 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score as West Jefferson dominated from the start.

The Roughriders scored the first 21 points of the game and held a 35-8 lead at halftime.

West Jefferson will now play at No. 5 Dawson-Bryant in round two.

Here is a breakdown of how each seed fared in the first round, courtesy of the OHSAA:

No. 1 seed: 28-0

No. 2 seed: 27-1

No. 3 seed: 27-1

No. 4 seed: 21-7

No. 5 seed: 26-2

No. 6 seed: 24-4

No. 7 seed: 13-15

No. 8 seed: 12-16

No. 9 seed: 16-12 (played at No. 8 seed)

No. 10 seed: 15-13 (played at No. 7 seed)

No. 11 seed: 4-24 (played at No. 6 seed)

No. 12 seed: 2-26 (played at No. 5 seed)

No. 13 seed: 7-21 (played at No. 4 seed)

No. 14 seed: 1-27 (played at No. 3 seed)

No. 15 seed: 1-27 (played at No. 2 seed)

No. 16 seed: 0-28 (played at No. 1 seed)