PDT Sports Writer
ZANESVILLE — If there was one thing Symmes Valley was not known for this season, it was mistakes.
But when the No. 5 Vikings let their guard down in Friday’s Division VI, Region 23 quarterfinal contest, No. 4 Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans took advantage and used the momentum to never look back. When it was all said and done, the Bishops advanced with a 26-3 decision in a game played at Zanesville Maysville High School.
“They made more plays than we did,” Symmes Valley coach Rusty Webb said. “Coach (Scott) Moyer has a very good team. They’re not very deep but they’re a physical team and they did what they need to win.”
The Vikings (8-3) had their chances to either take a firm grip on the game or get back into it during various points of the contest. But Symmes Valley could not take that next step, whether it may have been a Rosecrans (7-3) defensive stand or Viking errors took them out of position.
“We kept making too many mental mistakes,” Webb said. “They weren’t effort mistakes, we were giving really good effort and I’m proud of that, but we just did some silly things at silly times. A good team like Rosecrans will capitalize on that.”
The first instance was in the first quarter when Symmes Valley recovered a Bishop fumble at their own 2-yard line. The Vikings marched down the field and had the ball 3rd-and-Goal from the Rosecrans 3. A Symmes Valley false start pushed the Vikings back and it eventually led to a 25-yard field goal by Tyler Ferguson on the first play of the second quarter to give them a 3-0 lead.
A theme of the Bishop offense in the first half were the amount of bad snaps that killed drives. That all changed on a 2nd-and-Goal from the Symmes Valley 3. Adrick Cronin could not handle the shotgun snap and Ben Baldwin scooped the ball up at the Viking 11. Baldwin knifed through the defense and gave his squad a 6-3 lead with 2:20 left in the half.
The score was a turning point in the game. Symmes Valley was not able to counter before the half and Rosecrans started the second half with the ball.
Webb admitted all of the natural bounces of the ball just happened to go against his team. He tried to preach hard work and effort throughout during the second half.
But when the second half started, the Bishop offense ripped apart the Viking defense. Cronin found Jared Cox for an 8-yard pitch-and-catch midway through the third to give Rosecrans a 13-3 advantage. Cronin would add a pair of fourth quarter touchdown strikes, both to Thomas Thacker, to put the game out of reach and finish with 199 of his team’s 284 yards of total offense.
“We could not get a pass rush on him because (of) their offensive line (and their wide receivers) did a good job of shaking free,” Webb said. “They did something nobody’s done to us all year, which was they controlled the line of scrimmage. You can tell they’re a veteran team, they’re very senior heavy and they shown it tonight.”
Symmes Valley looked to cut into the early third quarter deficit on its opening possession of the second half. Unfortunately, the Vikings went from seeing a 1st-and-Goal from the Bishop eight-yard-line turn into 4th-and-Goal from the 34 because of two costly penalties. They would not go beyond the Rosecrans 39.
“We had too many mistakes in the Red Zone and that’s something that we really had not done all year,” Webb said. “We just picked a bad time to do it.”
Symmes Valley loses its greatest senior class in school history when accounting for wins. With a four-year tenure of 35-10, four-straight playoff berths which included just the third playoff win in school history last season, two home playoff games and an SOC I title, the group of David Wiseman, Austin Baldwin, Jacob Graybeal, Austin Owens, Alec Herrell and Caleb Holderby not only left a great mark on the program but set the bar for future generations.
“They have nothing to be ashamed of,” Webb said. “…They provided good leadership for the young kids and they taught them the work ethic that we need to carry into the off season and get ready for next season.”
D.J. Miller ld the Viking attack with 171 yards on 15 rushing attempts, 22 yards on one catch and was 0-for-1 passing with an interception.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 294, or email@example.com.
Symmes Valley 0 3 0 0 — 3
Zanesville Rosecrans 0 6 7 13 — 26
SV — Ferguson 25 FG 11:54
ZR — Baldwin 3 run (kick failed) 2:20
ZR — Cox 8 pass from Cronin (MacLean kick) 8:50
ZR — Thacker 14 pass from Cronin (MacLean kick) 10:34
ZR — Thacker 11 pass from Cronin (kick failed) 3:46
First Downs 10 17
Rush Att.-Yds.f 34-229 32-131
Pass Att.-Comp.-Int. 6-1-1 18-14-0
Pass Yds. 22 153
Total Yds. 251 284
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Turnovers 1 1
Penalties-Yds. 6-45 3-28
Punts-Avg. 4-29.8 1-45.0
RUSHING: Symmes Valley — Miller 15-171, Rowe 9-38, Herrell 6-30, Mays 2-6, Baldwin 2-(-16); Zanesville Rosecrans — Moore 7-47, Cronin 16-46, Baldwin 5-30, Thacker 2-7, Lanning 2-1.
PASSING: Symmes Valley — Rowe 5-1-0 22, Miller 1-0-1 0; Zanesville Rosecrans — Cronin 18-14-0 153.
RECEIVING: Symmes Valley — Miller 1-22; Zanesville Rosecrans — Baldwin 6-71, Thacker 4-48, Roberts 2-23, Cox 2-11.
RECORDS: Symmes Valley 8-3; Zanesville Rosecrans 8-3.