Leetonia ferrys in a new era of excellence
LEETONIA — Heading into their first home playoff game in school history, Leetonia had a chance to rewrite the history books. They did just that by defeating Buckeye Central, 32-16, and securing their first home playoff win in school history in Division VII second-round action Friday.
“We just did our stuff,” Leetonia coach Paul Hulea said. “The kids played hard and did a nice job. We just kept bringing it and there are some things that we thought we could do and we did them.”
Leetonia was up 32-0 after three quarters, but the Bucks made it interesting after scoring 16 points to cut the deficit in half late in the fourth quarter.
“We talk about that, our kids have a lot of character,” Buckeye Central coach Chad Jensen said. “That’s what we talked about with our kids. Never give up, never quit and they didn’t.
“Our kids, they always believe they can win and they fought until the end. I am really proud of our kids and they left it on the field.”
No. 19 seed Buckeye Central defeated No. 14 seed Wellsville 32-29 last Friday in the first round of the OSHAA playoffs and Leetonia secured a bye to the second round as the No. 3 seed.
“I think that bye week kind of hurt us a little bit,” Hulea said. “It is different getting a bye week in a college when you have 120 kids but when you only have 30 it is kind of hard to go live because you don’t want to lose any of them. We had some rust early but we knocked it off by the middle of the first and we were playing our game by then.”
In this contest, Marco Ferry made his return to the field after missing the last regular-season game and did not disappoint. After missing Leetonia’s last game two weeks ago due to an injury, Ferry ran for 129 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries.
Ferry did leave the field after cramping after his second touchdown with 10:37 left in the second quarter, but returned in the second half and looked good as new, running for two more second half touchdowns.
“I feel really good right now,” Ferry said. “Coming off a win like this is a huge confidence booster heading into the third round. Leetonia hasn’t been like this in a long time so I am really proud.”
As for his health, Ferry was upbeat.
“Very good,” Ferry said about how he felt. “I’ll rest up over the weekend.”
Leetonia senior receiver Jaedon Finley recorded 87 receiving yards, 22 rushing yards, recovered a fumble and nearly had an interception late in the game off of a pass deflection.
“I am just glad I am finally getting involved more,” Finley said. “I am proud of my teammates for their great blocking and just excited going into week three of the playoffs. I hope we continue it.
“I feel good,” Finley said about the win. “I am proud of everyone. Everyone has put in so much work and we deserve this.”
Leetonia recorded 243 rushing yards, mostly coming from Ferry and Jacob McCool. McCool finished with 70 yards and a touchdown and took on a heavy load when Ferry was out.
Eli Smith was the leader for Buckeye Central, recording 144 total yards.
Leetonia also recovered three Buckeye Central fumbles to help turn the momentum in their favor after fumbling on the opening play of the game.
Between traveling to Leetonia Friday night and Wellsville last weekend, the Bucks have accumulated almost 10 hours of travel over the past seven days.
“I don’t really think it affects us at all to be honest with you,” Jensen said. “Our kids love to play football and we have come a long way in our program.
“The bottom line is we made some mistakes and we have to clean those up for next week but my hats off to Leetonia. They are a really good team.”
Leetonia will face McDonald next Friday in the third round of the playoffs. McDonald defeated Jackson Milton 20-14 Friday night to advance.
“I’m a week at a time guy,” Hulea said. “I’m not going to worry about that right now. We will figure that out tomorrow morning.”
Leetonia will also get another home game as the higher seed.
“We are excited about that,” Hulea said. “We have a decent following and I was really pleased with the following. These kids made history tonight and I am proud of them.”
¯ Buckeye Central running back Aiden Rowlinson, who accounted for 129 yards last game, did not play.
¯ It also was Leetonia’s first playoff win since 2004.
Leetonia will next play McDonald at home next Friday at 7.
¯ Buckeye Central has won two of its last 40 games, one against Wellsville last week.
BUCKEYE: 0- 0- 0-16–16
LEETONIA: 6-14-12- 0–32
L– Marco Ferry 8 run (run failed)
L– Ferry 30 run (McCool pass from Lennon)
L– Jacob McCool 10 run (run failed)
L– Ferry 16 run (run failed)
L– Ferry 15 run (pass failed)
BC– Mason Brown 1 run (Sostakowski pass from Kerschner)
BC– Brady Kerschner 1 run (Dean pass from Kerschner)
First downs 10 17
Total Yards 201 341
Rushes-yards 28-101 41-243
Passing 100 98
Comp-Att-Int 8-18-0 5-7-1
Punts 1-31 2-78
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 1-1
Penalties-Yards 2-5 7-55
RUSHING–Buckeye Central, 16-62, Damian Dean 1-28, 7-21-1; Leetonia, Marco Ferry 18-129-4, Jacob McCool 14-70-1, Dylan Durick 7-22, Jaedon Finley 2-22.
PASSING–Buckeye Central, Brady Kerschner 8-18-100-0-0 ; L, Dylan Lennon 5-7-98-0-1
RECEIVING–Buckeye Central, Eli Smith 2-82, Zach Seiler 2-11, Aiden McDougal 2-9; Leetonia, Jaedon Finley 3-87, Marco Ferry 1-12 .
INTERCEPTIONS– Buckeye Central, Owen Diesch.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES–Buckeye Central, Brady Kerschner; Leetonia, Mike Miller 2, Jaedon Finley.