Tri-Valley slips past Chiefs in OT

Scotties escape with 36-30 win over BHS in regional semifinal


Bellefontaine quarterback Dezmin Lyburtus breaks free during the first half of Friday's state tournament game against Dresden Tri-Valley at Westerville. (EXAMINER PHOTO | TONY BARRETT)

WESTERVILLE — A last-second field goal and an overtime touchdown ended Bellefontaine’s playoff run here Friday in a Division III regional semifinal game at Warhawk Stadium.

Fifth-seeded Tri-Valley rallied in the fourth quarter to tie top-seeded Bellefonaine and eventually escape with a 36-30 victory at Westerville Central High School.

“It’s obviously not the outcome we wanted,” said BHS head coach Toby Smith. “You know it has to end at some point, but whether it happens in the state finals or here it doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye. It’s very disappointing, but these seniors have so much to be proud of. They’ve accomplished so much.” 

Tri-Valley faces Bishop Hartley (11-1) in the Region 11 championship game Friday at a site yet to be determined. Hartley defeated Independence 44-14 in the other Region 11 semifinal game.

Bellefontaine finishes the season 10-1 and repeated as the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail champions. Friday’s game marked just the third time in program history the Chieftains have reached the regional semifinals.


The Chieftain defense swarms on Scotties quarterback Andrew Newsom. (EXAMINER PHOTO | TONY BARRETT)

Bellefontaine led 30-27 with less than 2 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Tri-Valley was able to use four big passes to move down field to the Chiefs’ 23-yard line with 34.3 seconds on the clock.

After three incomplete passes, the Scotties kicker Chase Dinan drilled a 40-yard field on fourth down with 5.8 seconds left to tie the game at 30-30.

The Chieftains went on offense first during overtime. They reached the 1-yard line, but were fended off by the Scottie defense on four straight attempts.

Tri-Valley got its turn on offense and scored on the third play with an 8-yard touchdown run by Caleb Craig. That gave the Scotties a 36-30 win and a berth in the regional finals. 


Tommy Belser (20) and teammates reflect on the game after a heartbreaking tournament loss. (EXAMINER PHOTO | TONY BARRETT)

Bellefontaine senior quarterback Dezmin Lyburtus ended a dazzling career for the Chiefs with over 3,000 rushing yards and nearly 4,000 passing yards. On Friday, Lyburtus had 147 rushing yards and three scores and threw for 88 passing yards.

Lyburtus carried the BHS offense with 147 rushing yards on 31 carries and three scores, while throwing for 88 yards. Gross finished the game with 149 rushing yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. Johnny Ganson led the receivers with 60 yards on five catches.