By the second quarter, though, West (7-0) had settled down offensively and Bolden found Adrian Davis on a 13-yard touchdown pass to tie the game with 7:41 left in the half. East then went three-and-out, and West kept the momentum as Bolden found Trent Lloyd open down the middle for a 31-yard score.
The Firebirds never lost the lead from there. Bolden ran for a touchdown in the third quarter, and Goode’s 35-yard touchdown run put the game away with a 31-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“Those (first-quarter turnovers) are things you can’t do, but, I think we overcame it,” coach Tom Bolden said. “I’m proud of the kids. They didn’t dwell on it. They stayed locked in and we made plays.”
East managed one last score on T.J. Kathman’s 15-yard pass to Jack Hartmann with 6:14 left, accounting for the first touchdown West’s defense has allowed in 15 quarters. West had posted two straight shutouts going into Friday’s matchup.
The Hawks had chances earlier in the game. They reached the 19-yard line at the end of the first half but were stopped on third down, and Trevor Hoffman’s 36-yard field goal attempt was tipped by Alex Afari to prevent it from having a chance. In the third quarter, East went for it on fourth-and-24 from the 30 and couldn’t come up with the catch in the end zone.
Kathman finished with 170 yards passing and 26 yards on the ground, while Josh Thornhill added 42 yards rushing.
“We just can’t come down here and not come away with points,” East coach Rick Haynes said. “Twice we did that, and especially against a defense like that, you can’t miss those opportunities and that’s what happened. They played great. I thought they played really well offensively.”
West’s defense was led by Kam Vargas' eight tackles and half a sack, and Silas Walters' seven tackles.
Mitch Bolden finished was 6 of 8 passing for 74 yards and two touchdowns to go along with his big performance running the ball.
“He took a huge step forward, running the ball, throwing the ball,” coach Bolden said of his son Mitch. “When things got a little rough, for a sophomore to kind of take it upon himself like that, I’m awful proud of that.”
West advances to the regional semifinals, where coach Bolden will once again face his former team, Greater Miami Conference foe Colerain. The Firebirds beat the Cardinals 10-0 in the season opener.
“It will be another knock-down, drag-out game,” coach Bolden said. “They’ve got a great defense, we’ve got a great defense. That will be a ball game where whoever takes care of the football is going to win.”
As for East, the season might not be done yet. Haynes said he planned to meet with the senior captains Saturday to determine if they want to try to find another game to play, as the Ohio High School Athletic Association is allowing teams to add contests since the regularseason was shortened to six games.
The Hawks were carrying a four-game winning streak into Friday.
“We’re excited about next year,” Haynes said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids. We just have to figure out what we want to do from here, if we want to play and see who’s out there, but we want to make a decision that’s best for our football team.”