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“I like what we were able to do defensively,” Alter coach Ed Domsitz said. “(Badin) is pretty explosive. Anytime you can shut a GCL team out, that is pretty impressive. I was real pleased with the defense.”
Domsitz said the key was the top-seeded and top-ranked Knights’ ability to take away Badin’s bread-and-butter play, the jet sweep.
“The kids had to set the edge and contain their sweep,” Domsitz said. “We wanted to make them do something they didn’t want to do to win the ballgame. We did a nice job of setting that edge, no doubt about that.”
“We threw a couple wrinkles at them, but they were prepared,” Yordy said. “They took away the edges with (Alex) DeLong and (Davon) Starks. That is a big part of our offense the last 10 weeks, and they took it away from us. That is a testament to them. They are very well coached and a very good football team.”
Badin’s Luke Tabler (4) puts a block on Alter’s Matthew Schimpf (8) as BHS quarterback Zach Switzer carries the ball Friday night during a Division III, Region 12 playoff semifinal at Barnitz Stadium in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
While fifth-seeded Badin finished 8-4, the Knights improved to 11-1 and will play Wapakoneta for a regional title next Friday at a neutral site.
In addition to a stingy defense, the Knights won the battle via the ground game, churning out 297 yards on 49 rushes while only picking up 19 yards through the air.
Sophomore tailback Branden McDonald was the workhorse for Alter, rushing for 132 yards on 27 carries.
“We run the ball quite a bit,” Domsitz said. “The game plan is to use whatever is working, but tonight we had some elements with the wind making it tough to throw. We have a kid who can throw, but the key was we were able to run the ball. That takes time off the clock and keeps the ball away from their offense.”
Badin’s Davon Starks (1) gets some blocking help from teammate Ethan Wishart (41) as Alter’s Derek Willits tries to make a defensive play during Friday night’s Division III, Region 12 playoff semifinal at Barnitz Stadium in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Alter scored on its first possession when quarterback Connor Bazelak kept the ball on the option, broke several tackles and went 72 yards for a score.
The Knights padded their lead with a punishing 16-play, eight-minute drive capped off by Peter Riazzi’s 1-yard plunge in the second quarter.
The Rams’ first possession was a 10-play march that ended with a missed field goal. Badin’s next six possessions ended with punts before turning the ball over on downs on its last possession with a minute to go.
The BHS halfback tandem of Starks and DeLong was stuffed all night, combining for 57 yards on 22 carries. Badin quarterback Zach Switzer found the going tough in a stiff wind, completing 9-of-21 throws for 89 yards.
Alter’s Peter Riazzi carries the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during Friday night’s Division III, Region 12 playoff semifinal at Barnitz Stadium in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
“I thought we had a good game plan,” Yordy said. “We just didn’t execute. We had some opportunities to make some plays, and we just didn’t.”
Yordy lauded the play of his defense, which held the Knights scoreless in the second half. Evan Schlensker (11) and Keegan Gormley (eight) were the Rams’ leading tacklers.
“I thought our defense played a great game,” Yordy said. “They have some playmakers and got one touchdown on a real long run. Other than that, I thought we played really well defensively.”
A: Connor Bazelak 72 run (Kick failed)
A: Peter Riazzi 1 run (Jack Ruffolo kick)