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Tallmadge football team wins thriller in overtime

Published: August 27, 2016 12:27 AM
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The Tallmadge football team opened its season in grand fashion with a thrilling 27-24 victory over host Ravenna in overtime last night.

Trailing 24-21 in overtime, left-handed sophomore quarterback Sam Seeker found junior running back Ty Shannon on a screen pass.

Shannon had some open room near the sideline and scored from 16 yards away for the game-winning touchdown.

The fact that the Blue Devils (1-0) trailed in overtime seemed unthinkable at one point.

They had a two-score lead (21-7) when junior fullback Seth Baker scored on a 24-yard touchdown run just 56 seconds into the fourth quarter. Baker finished with 66 yards on 13 carries.

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But the Ravens, who defeated Tallmadge 37-14 last year, stormed back with two scores in a span of a little more than eight minutes.

Ravenna, using the Wildcat formation, had a plethora of running backs get huge chunks of yardage that nearly wore down the Tallmadge defense.

Ravenna cut the Blue Devils' advantage to eight (21-13) when Tony Lewis took the snap, cut to the left and outran everyone down the sideline for a 56-yard touchdown.

Tallmadge got a break when senior kicker Brady Starkey, who boomed several kickoffs into the end zone, missed the point after try.

But the Ravens didn't flinch.

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Ravenna pinned the Blue Devils near their end zone and got a huge break when Shannon's punt traveled just 11 yards.

As a result, the Ravens got the ball at Tallmadge's 24-yard line. Four plays later, Lewis, who led all ball carriers with 99 yards in 15 attempts, struck again with a 11-yard TD run to make it 21-19 with 1:52 left.

With so little time remaining, Ravenna needed a 2-point conversion. The Ravens got it when Lewis took the snap and squeezed into the end zone in traffic to tie the game.

It looked like the Ravens had all the momentum. However, the Blue Devils' defense, which seemed to be running on fumes after dominating the first three quarters, answered the call in overtime.

On third and 5 from the Tallmadge 15, senior linebacker Josh Todd knocked Lewis backward for a 2-yard loss. Starkey converted a 34-yard field goal on fourth down to give Ravenna its only lead (24-21).

Prior to the theatrics in the fourth quarter and overtime, Tallmadge appeared to be in control.

The Blue Devils got on the board late in the first half.

Tallmadge got good field position after a long punt return by Shannon, who actually raced into the end zone for a 52-yard score.

However, a block in the back was called, and the touchdown was nullified. Instead, the Blue Devils got the ball at the Ravens' 23.

Tallmadge's drive didn't start out so well.

The Blue Devils were called for three penalties during the possession.

But Tallmadge converted two third-and-long passes, including a 14-yard TD aerial from Seeker to senior tight end Jake Davis. Sophomore kicker Garrett Ansley booted the first of his three point after tries to make it 7-0 with 1:52 remaining in the half.

Ravenna had an answer.

The Ravens tied the game with an 8-play, 54-yard drive that took a little more than a minute to complete.

The big play of the drive was a third-and-10 17-yard pass from junior quarterback Bowen Brown to junior running back Austin Fox, who caught the ball despite being surrounded by a bevy of Blue Devil defenders.

Three plays later, Lewis tied the game with an 11-yard TD run on yet another third-and-10 play. Starkey booted the first of his two extra points.

The Blue Devils appeared to take control in the third quarter.

Senior defensive lineman Caiden Genovese recovered a fumble after teammate Matthew Kieke, a junior defensive lineman, forced the pigskin loose.

Tallmadge's offense took advantage of the turnover with a 5-play, 41-yard scoring drive. Shannon, who had 4 receptions for 64 yards, concluded the possession with a 13-yard TD run.

The Blue Devils got their next score, thanks to a turnover.

This time, junior defensive back Lawrence Benning intercepted a long pass to give the ball back to Tallmadge's offense.

The Blue Devils didn't squander their opportunity.

Tallmadge built its lead to 14 with a 5-play, 62-yard drive.

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