COLUMBUS (AP) — Ben Hawk kicked a 40-yard field goal with 4:57 left in the game to give Hartley a 31-28 victory over Steubenville in the Division IV final on Saturday.
Hartley (12-3) also won championships in 2010 and 1986.
Once Steubenville (13-1) got the ball back, the Big Red drove to the Hartley 23 but on a 4th-and-1 but was stopped with 1:12 to play. Running back Johnny Blue, who rushed for 115 yards and three touchdowns, was met by Cody Kirkbride and Rian Anderson inches short of a first down.
“It was for everything we worked for,” Anderson said. “I went in and took his legs out. That was the ball game.”
Not quite, because Hartley could not run the clock out. Steubenville got the ball again after a punt at its own 46 with 46 seconds left but a Dimitri Collaros pass was intercepted by Kirkbride on the first play.
“It was a great game. We just came up short on fourth down,” Steubenville Coach Reno Saccoccia said. “I’m naturally disappointed but proud of my players.”
Collaros connected on a 42-yard touchdown pass to Mandela Lawrence-Burke on the first play after a fumble by Hartley quarterback Jake Ruby to tie the score at 28 with 10:25 remaining.
The score came after Richard Jones burst through a gap and raced 64 yards down the sideline, eluding two tacklers, to give Hartley a 28-21 lead late in the third quarter.
“I saw the gates of heaven open up and I just ran,” Jones said.
Fifty seconds earlier Blue’s touchdown, from 2 yards, got Steubenville even at 21.
Hartley scored on its three possessions in the first half to lead 21-14. Steubenville got touchdowns from Blue on its first two drives.
“The game was a bit of a blur,” Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said.