Saturday, November 13, 1999

Lebanon 17, Kings 12


Warriors move to regional final

BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

lebanon
Lebanon's Dan Johnson makes pick.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        FAIRFIELD — Lebanon, the defending Division II state championship, cleared one big bump between it and a repeat run.

        The Warriors beat Kings 17-12 in the Region 8 semifinals before a sellout crowd of about 7,000 at Fairfield Stadium.

        The game was a rematch of the Week 3 game between the two schools. Kings won the first meeting 14-7.

        “It wasn't so much the revenge factor,” Lebanon's Nick Singleton said. “It was do-or-die. You lose you go home.”

        Lebanon, 10-2, doesn't go home. The Warriors move on to face the Edgewood-Chillico the winner in the regionals finals.

        Kings, which came in on a nine-game winning streak, finished 10-2.

        The Warriors rode big plays and three turnovers by Kings to the victory.

        The game was in doubt until the end. Kings had the ball at the Lebanon 29. Justin Dranschak's pass into the end zone was deflected by Singleton to end it.

        “It was a great high school football game,” said Lebanon coach Dave Brausch. “Both sides played their hearts out. I'm so proud of our kids.”

        Turnovers were the difference, Kings coach Andy Olds said.

        “I thought the team that made the least amount of mistakes would win,” Olds said. “Three turnovers is a lot in any game let alone a regional semifinal game. But I'm proud of the kids. No one expected us to get this far.”

        Singleton led Lebanon with 116 yards on 22 carries, putting him over 2,000 for the year.

        Lebanon is starting to think repeat.

        “Definitely,” Singleton said. “We've got to take a week at a time. But after about three games, we thought, "Hey, we're not so bad, even without all those seniors from last year.' ”

        Lebanon came out and rolled right down the field behind Singleton.

        The Warriors went 60 yards in six plays, four of them Singleton runs.

        He took it in from 35 yards out on a sweep to left. The game was less than two minutes old, and Lebanon had a 7-0 lead.

        Kings responded with a more methodical, but effective, drive.

        The Knights went 76 yards in 13 plays. Mike Hurley got it in on a run to the right side on fourth-and-2.

        But George Wilders' kick missed, and it was 7-6 with 3:06 left in the first quarter.

        Lebanon answered with a big play.

        The Knights forced Lebanon into a third-and-14 at the Warrior 19. Casey Abrams found Dan Johnson behind three Kings' defenders. Johnson had to wait a moment for the ball.

        He then turned and outran everyone for an 81-yard touchdown pass and catch.

        The play would turn out to be only successful pass of the quarter.

        Kings failed to cash on a major Lebanon error late in the half. Abrams tried to pitch as he was being tackled. The ball ended up on the ground. Kings' Keith Gabbard recovered at the Lebanon 23.

        Kings pushed the ball to the 9. But on third-and-7, quarterback Justin Dranschak was stopped a yard short of the first down.

        Kings decided to go it. Ronnie Swearingin was stacked up at line and ended up about a foot short.

        Lebanon added a big score early in the second half. The Warriors stalled on their first drive. Hurley fumbled Joey Stephens' punt. That gave Lebanon new life at the Kings 23. The Warriors went nowhere. But kicker Josh Eldridge converted on a 41-yard field goal, making it 17-6 with 4:08 left in the third quarter.

        “That was huge,” Brausch said, “to get up by two scores because they're a running team.”

        The Knights came back when Dranschak hit Alec Bikis for for 9 yards and the score, making it 17-12 with 2:56 to go.

        All Lebanon needed was a first down to ice the game. But the Warriors came up short.

        Kings got the ball back with 1:19 to go. Vanschak hit four passes to get the ball to three 29. But only 11.8 seconds remained.

        Kings' two deep throws came out empty.

        Lebanon ....... 14  0  3  0—17

        Kings ....... 6  0  0  6—12

        L—Singleton 35 run (Eldridge kick)

        K—Hurley 5 run (kick failed)

        L—Johnson 81 pass from Abrams (Eldridge kick)

        K—Bikis 9 pass from Dranschak (run failed)

       



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