BELOIT, Ohio (WKBN) – West Branch won their annual rivalry game against Salem, 48-38, in a thrilling way to end the regular season schedule. The Warriors (9-1) have now won three straight Eastern Buckeye Conference championships.
Dru DeShields accounted for seven touchdowns (four passing, three rushing) for the Warriors.
West Branch’s offense has scored 31-points or more in each of their last 28 regular season outings.
Most wins in a three-year span at West Branch
1992-94 – 32 wins
1993-95 – 30 wins
2020-22 – 30 wins
1990-92 – 29 wins
On the Warriors’ opening drive, West Branch drove down the field which was capped by Boston Mulinix’s 3-yard touchdown run to take an 8-0 lead.
On Salem’s first offensive possession, the Quakers were called for a false start penalty inside of the Warriors’ two-yard line. Hayden Tomidajeicz came on and booted through the uprights a 23-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 8-3 late in the first quarter.
Not even a minute passed, Dru DeShields connected with Christian Martig on a 55-yard touchdown to give the Warriors’ a 14-3 advantage with 3:17 remaining in the opening quarter.
Facing a fourth down inside their own territory, coach Ron Johnson rolled the dice and it paid off. Several plays later, Jackson Johnson passed a touchdown to Ross Davidson from 8-yards out to get the Quakers back within four points (14-10).
After a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Salem recovered. On the first play from scrimmage, Jackson Johnson struck again. This time to Caden Swiger for 18-yards to take a 17-14 lead.
Following an Anthony Perry catch placing West Branch inside of Salem’s 10-yard line (at the 9), the Warriors moved the ball to the goal line. On fourth down, DeShields called his own number – as he dove his way into the end zone for six points (21-17).
The offenses were not going to give in – Salem struck again. Johnson to Davidson hooked up from 58-yards out to put the Quakers back on top with 3:21 left in the first half (24-21).
Before the end of the half, Martig caught another touchdown from DeShields to give the Warriors the four-point lead with 1:02 remaining (28-24).
West Branch opened the second half with an on-side kick that was recovered by the kicking team. The Warriors’ DeShields completed a 45-yard toss to Martig again to extend their advantage to 35-24 within the first two minutes of the second half.
The Quakers respond with a Jackson Johnson touchdown run to cut the Warrior lead to 4-points (35-31) with 5:33 in the third quarter.
The Warriors decided to try to convert a first down on Salem’s 10-yard line on fourth down. West Branch was denied and the Quakers took over on downs deep in their own territory with over 11 minutes to play.
Quickly, Johnson and the Quakers marched down the field to score the go-ahead touchdown with just under eight minutes to go (7:53). Johnson went in from 5-yards away to give Salem the 38-35 lead.
On fourth down in West Branch territory (on the 30-yard line), DeShields called his own number on a keeper and gained nearly fifteen yards for a first down.
Boston Mulinix raced the ball for the Warriors down to the Quaker one-yard line. From there, DeShields put West Branch back ahead (failed kick) – 41-38.
On the ensuing possession, Johnson’s pass was batted into the air by West Branch’s Mitch Coffee and their senior defensive end Hudson Brink came away with the interception.
DeShields puts the exclamation point on a big night as he ran in another touchdown (48-38).
West Branch (9-1, 5-0) has clinched the top seed in Division 4 Region 13, according to JoeEitel.com. Salem (6-4, 2-3) will also compete in week eleven in Region 13.
Last 5 Meetings
Oct. 23, 2021 – West Branch, 43-42 (OT)
Aug. 29, 2020 – West Branch, 44-20
Nov. 2, 2019 – Salem, 46-27
Oct. 27, 2018 – Salem, 30-20
Oct. 28, 2017 – Salem, 48-8
2022 Eastern Buckeye Conference Standings
*West Branch – 5-0 (9-1)
*Alliance – 4-1 (8-2)
*Carrollton – 3-2 (7-3)
*Salem – 2-3 (6-4)
Marlington – 1-4 (1-9)
Minerva – 0-5 (0-9)
*-clinched playoff berth
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Track the latest conference battles on the WKBN high school football standings page.
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