By John Bombatch
CARLISLE — The play had worked just a few seconds before, enabling host Carlisle to score a touchdown and set-up a chance to win Saturday’s Division V first-round high school football playoff game against Greeneview.
But on the dramatic two-point win-or-die conversion try, the only difference was a little bit more dew on the Laughlin Field playing surface and Rams defensive back Tyler Robinette.
Carlisle senior standout running back Ridge Reed had taken a pitchout from quarterback Jake Moore and had capped a nine-play, 80-yard desperation drive with a 4-yard touchdown jog into the left corner of the end zone to make the score 21-20 in Greeneview’s favor, with 36 seconds left in the game.
But rather than settle for a tie with an extra point, which would’ve likely sent the game into overtime some 36 ticks later, the third-seeded Indians opted to go for a 2-point conversion.
Again, Reed took the pitch and headed to the left side of the end zone. But this time, Greeneview defensive back Tyler Robinette had the outside angle, which forced Reed to make a cut to the inside.
When he went to make his cut, Reed slipped on the dew-covered natural grass and fell, ending the play and Carlisle’s season. Greeneview had escaped with a 21-20 win.
“You gotta give credit to Carlisle. They had a key person in their lineup (starting lineman Chandler Workman) get hurt, and we take that lead with 2:12 left to go in the game, but they showed no quit and went right down the field and scored. It was a gutsy call to go for that 2-point play. You’ve gotta give them a lot of credit,” said Greeneview coach Neal Kasner.
Workman went down with what Carlisle coach Mike Brown believes to be a broken leg. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound lineman was a main cog on the Indians’ offensive and defensive line, and Brown said Workman’s absence was part of the reason the team had decided to go for two.
“Greeneview came to play, especially in that second half. We were having some issues with trying to stop them when they were running the ball,” Brown said. “One of our interior D-linemen went down, a pretty strong guy for us, and they hadn’t had too much trouble running the ball on us.
“The other thing is we’re in the playoffs. We’re at home, and we have Ridge Reed in the backfield for us. You want to get his hands on the ball when you’ve got an opportunity to win the game.”
Reed ran for a team-high 88 yards with touchdown runs of 7 and 4 yards. He’d rushed for more than 1,400 yards during Carlisle’s Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division title season, and was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team SWBL selection.
Greeneview (9-2) had set the tone for the second half when they rumbled 83 yards on 23 plays on a marathon drive that took up the final nine minutes of the third quarter and the first couple minutes of the fourth. Junior back Griffin Mangan ended the drive with a 4-yard run. A Bryce Wilson extra point kick later, the two teams were all even at 14-14.
Mangan led all ball carriers with 124 yards rushing on 25 carries. He had TD runs of 4 yards each.
The two teams traded possessions, then Workman went down with his leg injury with 4:59 remaining in the game. After a nearly 20-minute delay while Franklin Twp. Joint EMS ambulance officials tended to Workman and eventually removed him on a stretcher, Greeneview forced Carlisle to punt the ball away.
The Rams’ Ian Tamplin returned the punt 22 yards back to the Carlisle 39. Six plays later, quarterback Collin Matt dove in from a yard out to give Greeneview its first lead of the game with 2:12 left to play.
That’s when the Indians (8-3) went on their desperation two-minute drill scoring drive to set up the 2-point attempt.
With the win, sixth seeded Greeneview will play no. 2-seed Coldwater (10-1), at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 at Sidney High School. The winner of Saturday’s game will face either top seed Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (11-0) or no. 4-seed West Milton Milton-Union (8-3) for the regional title.
That regional title game will take place Nov. 19 at a neutral field to be determined later.
Score By Quarters
Greeneview 7 0 0 14 — 21
Carlisle 7 7 0 6 — 20
C — Ridge Reed 7 run (Bradley Harrison kick)
GV — Griffin Mangan 4 run (Bryce Wilson kick)
C — Spencer Mays 5 run (Harrison kick)
GV — Mangan 4 run (Wilson kick)
GV — Collin Matt 1 run (Wilson kick)
C — Reed 4 run (Run failed)
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.