GARRETTSVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) –
Powered by the running of senior halfback Willam Hardenbrook and a tenacious Rebel defense, they were able to pull out a 23-15 dogfight victory over the third-seeded Garretsville Garfield G-Men Saturday night in Divison V – region 17 playoff action. The win for the sixth-seeded Rebels (6-1) advances them to a regional semi-final contest with the second-seeded South Range Raiders next Saturday night.
Hardenbrook would carry the ball 20 times in the contest, picking up 194 yards and a touchdown. Ethan Powell would add another 76 yards on 20 carries.
“This is a huge game. The last time we were here I was watching my older brother back in 2012,” Hardenbrook said. “We practiced hard all week and a huge shout-out to the linemen in blocking.”
The G-Men looked to have the early momentum in the contest as they took their first possession and scored on a 38-yard by Anthony Demma to go up 7-0. That touchdown came just five minutes into the game.
But slowly the Rebels started to gain traction as they were able to cut the deficit on a Brandon Yanssens 28-yard field goal at the 8:00 mark of the second quarter. That made it 7-3 in favor of the G-Men.
“It was a very physical game, all game,” senior center Kyle Saunders remarked. “We had to keep up the intensity because I didn’t think they could keep up with our pace.”
The Rebels would score once more in the first half as quarterback Anthony Cusick found Yanssens on a 12-yard pass to give the Rebels their first lead of the game at 10-7. The touchdown came with only 43-seconds remaining in the first half.
The difference in the game came at the start of the second half when the Rebels defense stonewalled the G-Men on their first possession of the third quarter and then punched in another touchdown. Powell would run in from 10-yards out to make it 17-7 with 6:59 left in the quarter.
“That’s the game right there. When you fall down by a couple of scores, it hard for us to do what we do. Credit goes to them. The plays were there to be made, we just didn’t make them a couple of times,” G-Men’s coach Mike Moser remarked.
But the big blow came with just 9 ticks remaining in the third quarter when Hardenbrook took the handoff around left end and scampered 74-yards to give the Rebels a 23-7 advantage.
However, the G-Men would respond with an answer. The G-Men would score on a 6-yard run by Austin Lysiak with 9:43 remaining in the game to make it 23-15. They would connect on a pass for the two-point conversion to make it a one-possession, 8-point difference.
That is when the Rebels defense would clamp down on the G-Men, not allowing them any closed than the Rebels 29-yard line in the final seven minutes of the game.
“It was exactly what we expected. We knew it was going to be a dog fight for four quarters and that’s what it turned out to be,” Rebels coach Paul Cusick said.
“I maybe got a little conservative offensively a little too soon, but we were trying to grind it out. Our defense responded and that’s what you have to do in the playoffs,” Cusick added.
Watch the video above for extended highlights from Saturday’s game.
Get updated scores, throughout the playoffs on the WKBN scores page.
Looking for standings? Visit the WKBN high school football standings page.
Watch interviews and get player profiles for some of the best players in the Valley – visit the WKBN Big 22 page.