Jalen Santoro’s 1-yard touchdown run with 1:57 remaining propelled Bellevue to a 34-33 Division III state semifinal win over Dayton Thurgood Marshall Saturday in a game played at Ohio Wesleyan University’s Selby Field.
Bellevue (13-1) will play Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary — a 48-13 winner over Dover in Saturday’s other semifinal — next Saturday at 11 a.m. at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium. It’ll be the Redmen’s first state championship berth in three tries. They lost their previous two trips to the semifinal game in 1996 and 2001.
Santoro’s run capped a 13-play, 60-yard drive that started with just under seven minutes left. On the previous play, the Cougars (12-2) looked to have picked up a first down on a long run by quarterback Jamahl Manley, but his fumble was recovered by Bellevue’s Matt Dudek.
Denzel Norvell’s four-yard scoring run had given Thurgood Marshall a 33-20 edge early in the fourth quarter. That was shaved to 33-27 with 10:17 to go on a 51-yard touchdown run by Santoro, who finished with 156 yards on 29 carries and four TDs. He also caught a 9-yard scoring toss from tailback Dalton Jarvis in the second quarter.
The Redmen ran a total of two offensive plays in the third quarter after the game was tied at 20 all at half.
Thurgood Marshall finished with 406 rushing with 229 coming from tailback Vayante Copeland.
Check The News-Messenger website for more on Sunday.