Boardman final drive ends WGH rally

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Boardman quarterback Michael O’Horo, middle, tries to break the tackle of Warren G. Harding’s Jeremy Wilson, left, during the Spartans’ 28-21 victory Friday at Mollenkopf Stadium in Warren.

WARREN — A slow start for the Boardman Spartans worked out fine as Boardman put together a 77-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter that took nearly six minutes and gave the Spartans a 28-21 victory.

Warren G. Harding (1-5, 1-2) gave Boardman (4-3, 1-0) an early scare. On Boardman’s first drive, it had to punt. Harding’s Jeremy Wilson returned it 65 yards for an early 6-0 lead. The extra point was blocked.

Boardman responded with 21 straight points.

“We knew we had to win this game,” Boardman running back Domonhic Jenkins said. “We knew we had to be 4-3 tomorrow.”

Jenkins also said that even when Harding rallied to tie the game at 21, the team wasn’t fazed by the moment.

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Warren G. Harding’s Jeremy Wilson, left, eludes several Boardman defenders while getting a block from Marcus Wilkens (26) on a punt return for a touchdown.

Boardman seemed to be in deep trouble as quarterback Mike O’Horo threw an interception in his own territory in the first half. Fortunately for the Spartans, Harding didn’t do anything with the ball.

Boardman responded after that with a long drive that ended with Jenkins scoring from a few yards out to take a 7-6 lead in the second quarter.

Boardman added another score as O’Horo scored from one yard away late in the second quarter for a 14-6 halftime lead.

“They made an adjustment. They brought an extra lineman in,” Boardman coach Joe Ignazio said.

“They were going heavy to one side. They’ve got skill all over but went wildcat in the second half.”

Boardman started with the ball in the second half and found the end zone on its first drive to extend its lead. O’Horo ran in from 17 yards away for a 21-6 lead with 6:26 left in the third quarter. Harding didn’t lay down by any means.

The Raiders responded with a long drive that ended in a Geivonni Washington 4-yard touchdown scamper to cut the deficit to 21-13 with 1:43 left in the third.

“We just tried to get our best offensive players behind our offensive line,” Harding coach Steve Arnold said. “We just needed a change. Obviously it helped, but it didn’t help enough.”

Arnold said that his team hasn’t quit all year and that the team can build on that type of effort.

“We aren’t into moral victories, but we did play hard and fought,” Arnold said.

Washington scored again in the fourth quarter on a 19-yard run. He also ran in the 2-point conversion with 5:33 left to tie the game at 21.

“We just didn’t get a stop,” Arnold said on Boardman’s last drive. “Can’t get any simpler than that. We didn’t get a stop when we needed one.”

Boardman went on a near five-minute drive, ending with another Jenkins touchdown with about 30 seconds left for a 28-21. An interception on fourth down ended the game for Harding.