Saturday, November 06, 1999

Centerville 35, Mason 31

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CENTERVILLE — In its first year as a Division I team, Mason proved it belonged.

        The Comets put a mighty scare into unbeaten and fourth-ranked Centerville before dropping a wild 35-31 high school football playoff game Friday night.

        “We knew coming in that we are almost as good as anyone around,” Mason quarterback Adam Livingston said. “No one gave us respect or believed in us.”

        No opponent all season had scored more than 26 points against Centerville, which did not complete a pass in the second half.

        Mason, which jumped out to a 14-0 lead, had the Elks' attention all night, right down to a critical turnover late in the game.

        Clinging to a 31-28 lead — thanks to a 24-yard Jeff Lyon field goal with 6:56 left — Mason lined up to punt. But the snap bounced to Lyon, who couldn't handle the ball. Centerville junior Joe Abboud picked up the fumble, rambled a few yards and gave the Elks a first down at the Mason 25-yard line with 3:13 remaining. “That was the first one all year,” Mason coach Tim Lichtenberg said of the bad snap. “Just a bad time to have one.” Four plays later, Centerville quarterback Ryan Hawk rushed for his fourth TD, this time from 6 yards for the winning score with 1:48 to go. Livingston, who threw for 301 yards and four touchdowns, was intercepted on Mason's third play. The game was over.

        “If we get that punt off, we're probably the ones celebrating,” Livingston said.

        Centerville, which came in averaging 52.2 points a game, improved to 11-0 and next faces the Elder-Oak Hills winner in a Region 4 showdown.

        Mason finished 8-3; its eight-game winning streak ended.

        The Comets led 28-21 with 11:30 left after a 62-yard touchdown pass from Livingston to Todd Breiner. It was Mason's second TD deflected off the hands of a Centerville defender.

        The Elks came right back with a five-play, 65-yard drive and scored on a 3-yard run by Hawk to tie it with 9:42 remaining.

        Momentum turned at the end of the first half.

        Leading 14-7, Mason faced a fourth-and-2 from the Centerville 33 with 52 seconds left before the break. The Comets opted to go for the first down. The one thing they couldn't afford was a sack.

        What happened? Livingston went back to pass and was caught for an 8-yard loss, giving Centerville the ball with 47 seconds left.

        “We thought we could make it,” Lichtenberg said. “We were playing to win.”

        On the Elks' first play, Hawk threw downfield to Jeff Kennard. Livingston missed a tackle, and Kennard took the ball to the Mason 18-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Kennard got the ball on a reverse and ran outside to the end zone. The 24-second scoring drive tied the game going into halftime.

        Mason ....... 7 7 7 1031

        Centerville ....... 0 14 0 21—35

        M-Swanson 48 pass from Livingston (Lyon kick)

        M-M.Davis 9 pass from Livingston (Lyon kick)

        C-R.Hawk 6 run (Nugent kick)

        C-Kennard 18 run (Nugent kick)

        65 pass from Livingston (Lyon kick)

        C-R.Hawk 8 run (Nugent kick)

        M-Breiner 62 pass from Livingston (Lyon kick)

        C-R.Hawk 3 run (Nugent kick)

        M-Lyon 24 FG

        C-R.Hawk 6 run (Nugent kick)

        Records: Mason 8-3; Centerville 11-0.

Sports Stories
Ohio football playoff results
Today's Greater Cincinnati games
Today's Ohio playoff schedule
Indiana football playoff results
Kentucky football playoff results
Bellbrook 30, Purcell Marian 15
- Centerville 35, Mason 31
Edgewood 63, McNicholas 28
Kings 32, Vandalia Butler 23
Lebanon 17, Springboro 0
Twin Valley South 25, Batavia 20
Beechwood 44, Raceland 12
Bellevue 55, Paris 20
Garrard County 28, Newport 27
Highlands 68, Anderson County 14
Holmes 41, Franklin Co. 25
Lou. Fern Creek 12, Boone Co. 0
Ludlow 37, Nicholas County 24
Newport Central Catholic 35, Berea 13
Badin (7-3) vs. Wheelersburg (9-1)
Huber Heights Wayne (9-1) vs. Fairfield (8-2)
Ironton (6-3) vs. Wyoming (9-1)
Madeira (9-1) vs. Indian Hill (9-1)
Mechanicsburg (7-3) vs. CCD (10-0)
Moeller (6-4) vs. St. Xavier (9-0)
Oak Hills (7-3) vs. Elder (8-1)
St. X, Edgewood win poll titles
Enquirer's final polls
19 area teams make playoffs
Expanded playoffs promise November Madness
St. X, Elder, Moeller carry GCL flag