By John Snodgrass, firstname.lastname@example.org
La Salle High School football was nothing short of dominant Friday evening during its Division II Region 8 semifinal game in Miamisburg.
The Lancers scored 34 first-half points and held one of the state’s top running backs to a season-low in rushing yards as they cruised to a 41-6 victory that included a second half that was played entirely using a running clock.
“We had a game plan coming into this game and I think we executed it very well on offense, defense and special teams,” La Salle coach Pat McLaughlin said.
That they did. The Lancers racked up 438 yards of offense and held the Yellow Jackets to just 153. La Salle (10-2) outgained Sidney 365-65 in the first half.
The win vaults the Lancers into Friday’s regional championship against Winton Woods. The Warriors dispatched Anderson 52-21 in the other Div. II regional semifinal. The Warriors beat the Lancers 18-15 during Week 5 of the regular season.
On Friday in Miamisburg La Salle left no doubt as to why they earned the region’s top seed. Senior quarterback Griffin Merrit threw 20 passes – all in the first half – and connected on 13. Of those 13 completions, four went for scores – two to Jake Roberts and two to Jake Seibert. Merritt finished with 184 yards passing and no interceptions.
La Salle’s running game was a force as well. The Lancers ran for 243 yards and a pair of scores. Cameron Porter led the way with 88 yards and a first-half touchdown on 12 carries. Kevin Howard added 14 carries for 53 yards and a second-half score. Dion Campbell did yeoman’s work carrying the ball nine times for 75.
On the other side of the ball, La Salle’s defense was a granite wall. The Lancers held the Greater Western Ohio Conference rushing leader, Isaiah Bowser, to a season-low 67 yards. The Northwestern commit, who entered the game with 2617 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground, did not find the end zone for only the second time this season.
“He’s a great back, and we did a very good job against him tonight,” McLaughlin said.
La Salle held Sidney (10-2) to just 63 rushing yards and 2.5 yards per carry. They also forced two turnovers. The Yellow Jackets found the end zone late in the game on a one-yard Kelton Stockton touchdown reception with 6:28 to go in the contest. By then the outcome had been long decided.
This was La Salle’s fifth-straight game in which they held their opponent to 10 points or less and their second-straight game scoring more than 40 points.
La Salle and Winton Woods will face each other at 7:30 p.m. at a site to be named later.