TIFFIN — Elmwood High School’s season ended in the regional semifinals against Elyria Catholic 51-21.
Head coach Greg Bishop knew that the Royals needed to have an almost perfect game to make it to the next round.
“In this type of environment, you’re this deep into the playoffs, everyone is really good. They are going to come and throw everything they have at us. We are going to throw everything we have at them. We just came up short tonight,” Bishop said.
It was a close game to start. Elyria Catholic scored on their opening drive with a 27-yard field goal by Ian Woodyard.
Elmwood responded with a 31-yard touchdown run by running back Mason Oliver. The last time the Royals had a lead would be when they led 7-3.
At halftime, the Panthers had a 24-14 lead. Quarterback Brady Cook had three touchdowns in the first half.
Elmwood made it a close game. An 8-yard touchdown reception by Oliver got the Royals within three points.
Once the score was 24-21, Elyria Catholic broke open the game. An Oliver fumble gave the Panthers all the momentum they needed to win.
The Panthers went into their bag of tricks to extend their lead back to 10. A double pass saw backup quarterback Thomas Niederst get the swing pass and launch it to receiver Alex Carandang for the 72-yard touchdown.
On the kickoff immediately after that, Elmwood fumbled to give the Panthers the ball back.
“It’s a game of turnovers. We turned it over three times and they turned it over none. That’s going to get you in this type of environment,” Bishop said.
Elyria Catholic drove down the field and scored. Running back Tavion Thomas ran it in from 8-yards out to make it a 38-21 Panther lead. From there, Elyria Catholic had full control.
Thomas had a spectacular day filling in as the Panthers’ starting running back, with 148 yards on 30 carries. He had two touchdowns as well.
Cook finished the game 13 for 24 with 207 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a 5-yard rushing touchdown.
Receivers Colin Ginley and Carandang each had over 100 yards. Carandang had 117 yards and Ginley had 116 yards.
Oliver finished the game with a strong 166 yards on the ground in 23 carries. He topped over 200 total yards with 67 yards receiving on four receptions. Both were good to lead the team in receiving.
The only blemish on Oliver’s day was the two fumbles he had. However, only one led to a Panther score.
Quarterback Hayden Wickard went 11 for 21 with 135 yards. Wickard had one passing touchdown to Oliver and one rushing touchdown. He finished with 14 rushing yards.
Bishop is proud of the accomplishments of the season. He said that they will help lay a foundation for Elmwood to build on next season.
“This senior class helped bring this program to a whole new level. They led us to the most wins in school history. I’m very proud of our group. It stings right now, but when the dust settles they will have plenty of things to be proud of.”