Dixie Heights was less than a foot away.
Unfortunately for the Colonels, it was a foot too far. Beechwood stopped quarterback Armani Gregg on a two-point conversion and thus escaped with Friday’s 49-48 overtime win.
Colonels running back David Anderson scored from 12 yards out. Dixie coach Pat Burke though going for the win was the obvious choice..
“We’re at home, you’ve got to go for the win,” Burke said. “I though it was the best decision.”
Beechwood lineman Jack Meier was the first to hit Gregg.
“I like to think everybody came in and helped,” Meier said. “You saw 11 guys on that football. I blacked out during that play; I have no idea what happened. I just knew I got him.”
If you wanted lots of offense, the Tigers and Colonels left you ecstatic – especially Beechwood quarterback Clay Hayden and Anderson.
Hayden threw for 372 yards and seven touchdowns. His favorite target: Luke Erdman, who grabbed six catches for 218 yards, including touchdowns of 86, 68, and 31 yards – and the 10-yarder in overtime.
“We’ve got a great back in Chase (Flaherty),” Hayden said. “But this year, we have so many athletes on the outside; we know we’ve got to spread the ball to those guys, too.”
And Anderson? He ran for a not-pedestrian 232 and three scores – 92, eight and a 12-yarder in overtime.
Tigers coach Jay Volker was not down about the win.
“I learned that we need to play better defense,” Beechwood coach Jay Volker said. “Being the head coach and the defensive coordinator, it’s definitely not the best, not the proudest game.”
For the first six minutes, Beechwood (3-0) threatened to run away.
Four plays after Chase Flaherty took an interception 46 yards to the Dixie 21, Hayden for Tyler Fryman for a 17-yard score. After the Tigers recovered Gregg’s fumble, Hayden-to-Erdman for 86 yards made it 14-0 Tigers.
For the rest of the half, Dixie Heights caught and passed the Tigers.
In order: Anderson for 92 yards around right end, Anderson from eight yards out, Brach Rice’s blocked punt and recovery in the end zone, and Gregg’s four-yard run set up by his 37-yard pass to Hudson Blank.
That’s 27 unanswered points.
When Hayden wasn’t connecting with Erdman for touchdowns, he was tossing to James Cusick; a 49- and an 11-yarder to open the third quarter put the Tigers ahead, 28-27.
There really was some defense. Beechwood’s Talon Linder picked off Gregg midway through the third quarter. Erdman was not neglected – three plays later, he hauled in a 64-yard score.
Dixie Heights mightily countered with a hit you could’ve felt at the KFC on Dixie Highway.
The Colonels’ Kabanza Mwamba crushed Hayden, Dominic Storer recovered the fumble, and Gregg carried four times for 49 yards, including the final 21 – a play where he broke at least two tackles.
Hayden-to-Erdman for 31 yards put the Tigers ahead, 42-35, with 4:35 left in regulation. It wasn’t enough: Gregg found Mwamba for a 32-yard score with 51.2 seconds left.
Beechwood plays its next five games at home, starting with Simon Kenton at 7:30 p.m. Dixie Heights travels to Covington Catholic.
TIGERS 49, COLONELS 48 (OT)
BEECHWOOD — 14––21–7-7 — 49
DIXIE HEIGHTS — 0-27-0-15-6 — 48
(B)-Tyler Fryman 17 pass from Clay Hayden (Colson Lair kick), 9:52
(B)-Luke Erdman 86 pass from Hayden (Lair kick), 6:21
(DH)-David Anderson 92 run (Andrew Kohls kick), 7:49
(DH)-Anderson 8 run (Kohls kick), 5:05
(DH)-Brach Rice recovered blocked punt in end zone (kick failed), 3:49
(DH)-Armani Gregg 8 run (Kohls kick)
(B)-James Cusick 49 pass from Hayden (Lair kick), 10:14
(B)-Cusick 11 pass from Hayden (Lair kick), 5:09
(B)-Erdman 68 pass from Hayden (Lair kick), 1:12
(DH)-Gregg 21 run (Rice run), 6:46
(B)-Erdman 31 pass from Hayden (Lair kick), 4:35
(DH)-Kabanza Mwamba 32 pass from Gregg (Kohls kick), 0:51.6
(B)-Chase Flaherty 10 pass from Hayden (Lair kick)
(DH)-Anderson 12 run (run failed)
Passing Yards: Beechwood 372 (Hayden 22-32-1 INT); Dixie Heights 106 (Gregg 8-13-1 INT)
Rushing Yards: minus-1 (Flaherty 10-24, Erdman 1-(minus-1), Hayden 5-(minus-24); 398 (Gregg 23-157, Anderson 23-232, Mutongwiza 3-6, Beach 1-6, Mwamba 1-8)
Receiving: Beechwood-Erdman 6-218, Cusick 5-71, Fryman 3-41, Linder 1-18, Flaherty 5-24; Dixie Heights-Goetz 1-(minus-1), Kriger 3-24, Mwamba 3-18, Blank 3-64
Turnovers: Beechwood 2, Dixie Heights 3
Penalties: Beechwood 2-10, Dixie Heights 1-15
Records: Beechwood 3-0, Dixie Heights 1-2