GALION — Galion players didn’t care if it was a damp, 45 degrees outside after the Tigers 15-7 victory over Wynford.
Once they found their acquired target, Tigers coach Chris Hawkins received a cooler bath with a big smile on his face.
“I told them you can do this every week if you keep winning,” Hawkins said.
Galion (8-1, 6-0 NCC) clinched at least a share of the Black Division North Central Conference title.
“I thought our kids played very well tonight and the Galion kids played very hard too,” Wynford coach Gabe Helbert said.
A win against Ontario next week will give Galion its first outright championship since its 2009 NOL title.
“It was definitely a great team win,” Hawkins said.
Galion held Wynford to just 134 yards total offense. The Royals lone score in the second quarter, a two-yard run by Brock Williamson, tied it at 7-7 heading into halftime.
“It was definitely a defensive battle,” Helbert said. “Our defense played very well and their defense played very well. You have the top two defenses in the league going at it and I think the conditions played into that as well.”
David Nay led the Tigers rushing for 116 yards on 18 carries. Dareian Watkins finished with 92 yards on 24 carries, assuming quarterback duties after Austin Prosser left the game with an injury in the second quarter. Prosser was transported to Grant Medical Hospital in Columbus for precautionary measures Friday night to check for neck and head injuries. He is moving his arms and legs and is conscious, according to a family member.
Prosser scored Galion’s first half touchdown from the 1-yard line.
“I came in at halftime and that is the first thing I thought about,” Hawkins said. “It wasn’t about X’s and O’s, it wasn’t about what adjustments we were going to make. It was about Austin Prosser and saying a little prayer and hoping he was OK.”
Garrett Shutler led the Royals offense with 67 yards on 14 carries. Wynford entered Friday’s contest against Galion as seven-time defending NCC champions.
“There is still a lot to play for,” Helbert said. “Our No. 1 goal all year is to win the league, and unfortunately that reality isn’t there. It’s the first time we haven’t done that in a very long time and Galion is a very deserving team and they have had a great year so far.
“We still have a lot to play for and we have to believe we can go out and play well against our rival (Bucyrus) next week and take care of business, get into the playoffs and hopefully make a run.”