Cardinals come from behind to topple Lehman
ABOVE: From the left, Triad’s Jacob Thompson, Scottie Instine and Doug Lowe celebrate after defeating Lehman Catholic 14-7 in their Division VII regional semifinal game Saturday in Wapakoneta. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Triad’s Steven Feasel records a sack against Lehman Catholic quarterback Nick Rourke during the first quarter of their playoff game Saturday in Wapakoneta. (EXAMINER PHOTO | AARON LABATT)
WAPAKONETA — It was ironic that a matchup built around two dynamic offenses would ultimately be decided by defense.
Triad came up with one big play after another here Saturday in its Division VII regional semifinal game against Lehman Catholic.
The Cardinals rallied with two unanswered second-half touchdowns inside Harman Field to put the Cavaliers away 14-7 and keep the season alive.
“I figured it would have to come down to the defense stepping up,” said Triad head coach Payton Printz. “These kids just love each other. They feed off of each other and it motivates them.”
With the game tied 7-7 in the fourth quarter, Triad senior linebacker Damian Boldman intercepted a Lehman Catholic pass at the 50-yard line. He raced down the Cavalier sideline, forcing Lehman to watch their season come to an end with what would be the eventual game-winning touchdown.
“As soon as I caught that ball, I told myself I was going to score,” said Boldman with a smile.
The victory sends top-seeded Triad (12-0) to the regional final for the first time in school history. The Cardinals will now face two-time defending state champion Marion Local (12-0) Saturday at 7 p.m. in Piqua.
Making the win over Lehman Catholic even more impressive was the fact that the Cardinals were missing their three best players.
Do-it-all senior running back Tre McIntyre broke his ankle in Week 6 and remained out, while his brother, sophomore quarterback Trent McIntyre, suffered a separated shoulder and a broken bone in his wrist in last week’s playoff win.
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Triad was dealt another setback on Saturday when junior running back, and the team’s leading tackler on defense, Chaz Adams was injured on the game’s opening kickoff. He did not return.
“We were without our three most dominating players and were still able to come away with a victory,” said Printz. “That was a good Lehman Catholic team, too. That performance by our defense was such a true testament to these kids. Those boys stepped up when we needed them to.”
Senior Doug Lowe started his first game at quarterback for Triad after coming in for an injured Trent McIntyre in last week’s game against Cedarville.
“I was pretty nervous before the game,” said Lowe. “I knew I had to step up, though.
“The first half went quick. I talked to Trent at halftime and my coaches and they told me to slow the game down in my mind. I did that in the second half and things fell into place.”
Triad senior defensive end Steven Feasel was a major factor Saturday. He was a disruptive force all night for the Cardinals. He had 19 sacks entering the game and recorded three more.
“Steven played like a man possessed,” said Printz. “He was in their backfield all night even when they were holding him. I told him I wanted eight sacks.”
The two defenses slugged it out for much of the first half until late in the second quarter when Lehman provided the first real scoring threat of the game.
After two penalties against Triad, the Cavaliers were able to take the ball to the Cardinals’ 11-yard line. Lehman brought out its field goal unit, but called another timeout and, instead attempted to run the ball. The Cavs failed to get the first down and turned the ball over on downs.
Triad had a scoring threat of its own just before the break. The Cardinals drove the ball to Lehman’s 10-yard line, but a lob pass was intercepted at the goal line with 1 minute left. The Cavs then ran out the clock to enter halftime tied at 0-0.
The third quarter saw the first score of Saturday’s contest when Lehman put together an 80-yard drive.
Standout quarterback Nick Rourke kept the drive alive when he picked up a first down on a fourth-and-three run.
Four plays later, Lane Monnin punched in a 1-yard touchdown run with 4:12 remaining in the third quarter. That gave the Cavs a 7-0 advantage.
Triad responded on its following possession with a 65-yard scoring drive.
After dominating on defense, Feasel came up big on offense. He snagged an 14-yard TD pass from Lowe with 35 seconds to play in the quarter. That knotted the game at 7-7.
The defensive battle took center stage again in the fourth quarter. Lehman worked its way to midfield around the 10-minute mark.
Rourke fired a pass to one of his receivers, but Triad’s Boldman stepped in front of it for the interception and took it back to the end zone with 9:33 to go in the game.
That gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game with a 14-7 score.
Lehman thought it had evened the game up when Rourke broke free for a 54-yard touchdown run on his team’s next possession with 8:42 left. However, a penalty negated the score.
Feasel led the offense with 76 receiving yards and a score, while Zach McConnell added 61 receiving yards. Lowe finished the game with 184 passing yards.
Look for a state playoff regional final preview on Triad in Friday’s Examiner.
TRIAD 14, LEHMAN CATH. 7
Cavaliers 0 07 0 – 7
Cardinals 0 0 7 7 – 14
TEAM STATISTICS LC TR
First downs 15 13
Total net yards 190 263
Passing 61 184
Comp-att-int 13-25-2 13-31-2
Punts/avg 6/34.3 7/29.9
Fumbles-lost 3-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 4-40 4-40