Quri Hickman’s 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal late in the fourth quarter gave Columbus Bishop Hartley the lead for good and the Hawks held on for a comeback 26-14 win over Bishop Fenwick Saturday night in a Division IV state semifinal at Wilmington’s Alumni Field.
Fenwick lost a fumble at its own 39 on the ensuing possession and Hickman, a senior running back, added a 30-yard touchdown to effectively end the game with 46 seconds to play.
Hartley (11-3) will meet Steubenville next Saturday at 8 p.m. in the state final at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. Steubenville beat Youngstown Ursuline 28-0 Saturday in the other semifinal.
Fenwick’s season is over after its first loss. The Falcons finished with a 13-1 record and a Region 14 championship. The Falcons were ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press Division I state poll.
“It’s unbelievable what this team has done for the program and for me personally,” Fenwick coach Joe Snively said. “I want to give them a big thank you and a collective hug. The senior class especially has been the backbone of our team for three years as sophomores, juniors and now in their senior year. I couldn’t say thank you enough to them.”
The Hawks trailed 14-13 when Hickman pounded his way into the end zone with 3:03 remaining in the game on fourth down, but not after some indecision on the Hartley sideline. Hartley coach Brad Burchfield sent senior kicker Ben Hawk onto the field to attempt his third field goal of the game. The Hawks took a delay of game penalty to improve the angle of the kick, but Fenwick declined the penalty.
So Burchfield sent the offense back out.
“They talked us into going for it,” Burchfield said of his players. “It’s their team, after all. Maybe it was divine intervention when they didn’t take the penalty.”
Hickman was in on convincing his coach.
“We decided to put it on the whole team instead of just one person,” Hickman said. “I told the coach that I had faith in the offensive line that I could get that yard.”
Fenwick stopped the two-point conversion attempt, but the five-point deficit meant the Falcons needed to get to the end zone to reclaim the lead in a short amount of time.
“It was the nail in the coffin,” Snively said. “It knocked the wind out of our sails.”
Hickman finished with 36 carries for 195 yards and the two late touchdowns. Hickman led an offense with speed the Falcons hadn’t seen much this season.
“Definitely the speed,” Snively said. “They run a lot of speed and toss. I think we got out of our element. They had a lot of formational changes and things like that that we kind of planned on, but our kids got wide-eyed. In the second half we really got on them about focusing on their keys and backfield watching. It started to slow things down, but that No. 4 (Hickman) and that o-line, when they get the short yardage stuff, they can pound it out.”
Senior Vince Durham’s second varsity touchdown gave the Falcons a second-half lead that nearly held up. Durham, whose first touchdown last week won the regional title in overtime, scored Saturday from a yard out to give Fenwick its first lead at 14-10 with 7:56 to play in the third quarter.
Hawk’s 23-yard field goal later brought Hartley to within one at 14-13 with 8:38 to play, setting up Hickman’s heroics. Hickman also connected from 30 yards in the second quarter to give the Hawks a 10-7 lead at halftime.
“We lost to a good football team,” Snively said. “If you’re going to lose, you want to lose to a team that is really good. Bishop Hartley is good. We congratulate them and with them good luck to them on their trip to Columbus. We’ll regroup later with the underclassmen and move on but this group right here has definitely left an impression.”
H-Onega 26 run (Hawk kick).
F-Jeffers 5 run (Hirko kick).
H-Hawk FG 30.
F-Durham 1 run (Hirko kick).
H-Hawk FG 23.
H-Hickman 1 run (run failed).
H-Hickman 30 run (Hawk kick).
Records: H 11-3, F 13-1.