BELOIT, Ohio (WKBN) – West Branch posts a season-high 54-points as the Warriors downed Struthers, 54-35, in the District 4 Region 13 Quarterfinal round. West Branch will square off against Buchtel next week. The Griffins have toppled #4 seed Woodridge (24-21) and #5 Northwest (31-14) in back-to-back weeks.
West Branch quarterback Dru DeShields threw for 4 touchdowns and ran for another.
The Warriors opened the game with a pair of Dru DeShields to Anthony Perry connections (25, 52) to set up their first score. Boston Mulinix pushed his way into the end zone to give West Branch the 6-0 early lead.
The next time the Warriors possessed the ball, it was DeShields who found Christian Martig on a fourth down pass play to keep the drive alive. Next play, DeShields went over the middle to connect with freshman Jeremiah Thomas on a 23-yard strike for six-points (12-0).
Not to be denied, Struthers comes right back and scores on a long Anthony Carter touchdown run to cut into the Warriors’ lead (12-7).
West Branch faced a fourth down on their next drive. DeShields and Martig connected for the conversion. After a sizeable pickup from Mulinix, DeShields tossed a 22-yard score to Michael Kanagy to extend their lead to 13-points (20-7).
Struthers puts together another scoring drive. This time, Tyler Sanchez takes the handoff and runs 42-yards up the far side line to get the Wildcats back within striking distance at 20-14 in the first quarter.
West Branch made it four touchdowns on their first four drives as Boston Mulinix runs in a one-yard score. The touchdown was set up by a Mulinix 26-yard run and a 4th-down play by DeShields for 9-yards to put the Warriors down to their goal line.
On their fifth offensive possession of the night, DeShields was picked off in Warrior territory by Nico Farina. The Wildcats failed to move the football on their first three plays. On fourth down, Na’Jier Howard came in to play quarterback for Struthers. Under intense pressure, Howard stood in and threw a dart to Farina from 39-yards away to get the ‘Cats back into the game (27-21).
Just before intermission, West Branch made play-after-play when needed to finish the first twenty-four minutes with another score. At the end of the drive, DeShields scampered for first down yardage on another fourth down. Martig hauled in an 18-yard pass from DeShields for the Warriors’ fifth score to enter halftime up 13 (34-21).
Struthers fumbled the ball away on their first possession of the third quarter. Warrior senior Thomas Egli came away with the turnover. Four plays later, DeShields goes into the end zone standing up to extend the lead to 20-points (41-21).
It didn’t take Struthers long to get their points back as Alec Grzyb raced to the sideline to score a one-yard touchdown run on fourth down to cut the deficit to 13-points (41-28). A big pass play to Chaz Ekoniak set up the ‘Cats inside of the Warriors’ 10-yard line.
After the Wildcats’ score, back came West Branch. A good mix of passing and rushing had the Warriors deep in Struthers’ territory where Joey Jackson scored on a 9-yard catch.
Midway through the final quarter, Garin Harlan ran up the middle behind his offensive line to score another touchdown (54-28).
Struthers adds another on a Tyler Sanchez 44-yard run to give the Wildcats their fifth touchdown of the day.
The Wildcats’ season came to a close at 7-5, as their 6-game win streak was snapped. Struthers featured four different players who scored a touchdown.
West Branch, 54-35 (F)
W – Boston Mulinix, 1-yard TD run (pass failed, 10:39)
W – Jeremiah Thomas, 23-yard TD catch from Dru DeShields (pass failed, 7:15)
S – Anthony Carter, 70-yard TD run (Alec Grzyb kick, 6:53)
W – Michael Kanagy, 22-yard TD catch from DeShields (Kanagy catch, 3:29)
S – Tyler Sanchez, 42-yard TD run (Grzyb kick, 1:32)
W – Mulinix, 1-yard TD run (Eliza Hurst kick, 8:35)
S – Nico Farina, 39-yard TD catch from Na’Jier Howard (Grzyb kick, 4:19)
W – Christian Martig, 18-yard TD catch from DeShields (Hurst kick, 0:52)
W – DeShields, 2-yard TD run (Hurst kick, 10:22)
S – Grzyb, 1-yard TD run (Grzyb kick, 7:37)
W – Joey Jackson, 9-yard TD catch from DeShields (kick failed, 3:05)
W – Garin Harlan, 1-yard TD run (Hurst kick, 7:35)
S – Sanchez, 44-yard TD run (Grzyb kick, 7:01)
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