CHILLICOTHE — Only in a time of COVID could you have the scenario that played out Friday night at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe.
The Miami Trace Panthers visited Chillicothe for the second time in two weeks for the first night of the 2020 playoffs.
Chillicothe, who had 63 players on their roster, only had 19 players available with 44 players in quarantine.
The game was close in the first half, but, as the second half ground on, the Panthers were able to wear down the Cavaliers and post a 27-14 victory.
The win should help ease the bitter taste of last week’s loss to their rivals, the Blue Lions.
It also breaks a three-game losing streak for Miami Trace, as they improve to 4-3 on the season.
The Cavaliers, the Frontier Athletic Conference champions, have their season end with a record of 5-2.
Miami Trace will play next Friday at 7 p.m. at London High School against former South Central Ohio League opponent, the Red Raiders who sport a record of 5-1.
On a mild second Friday of October, Miami Trace had the first possession of the game.
The series ended with an interception of a deep pass by Miami Trace junior quarterback Westin Melvin.
It was on Chillicothe’s second possession that the Cavs got on the board with a 3-yard run by sophomore Maxwell Lee.
The Cavs tried a pass for two points, but it was no good. That score came at the 5:23 mark of the opening quarter.
On Miami Trace’s third possession, Melvin hit senior Josh Gilmore for a 5-yard touchdown pass. The extra-point kick was no good.
The score remained 6-6 going into the second quarter.
With 3:13 to play in the half, junior Jaiden Cain scored on a 1-yard run. Junior Tylin Scales ran in the conversion to give Chillicothe a 14-6 lead.
Late in a half, a punt by Melvin pinned the Cavs back at their own 1-yard line.
Chillicothe soon had to punt out of its own end zone, giving the Panthers the ball at the Chillicothe 27-yard line.
After an incomplete pass, Melvin found Gilmore for a touchdown.
Sophomore Zach Warnock booted the PAT to pull the Panthers to within one, 14-13. That score came with 1 second remaining in the half.
There were two touchdowns in the second half, one in each quarter and both by Miami Trace.
The Panthers took the lead with a 28-yard pass play from Melvin to senior Hunter McBee. Warnock converted the kick give Miami Trace a 20-14 lead.
That score came with 2:38 to play in the third quarter.
With 6:54 to play in the game, Melvin hit Gilmore for a 67-yard touchdown. Warnock put the final point of the night on the board, making it 27-14, Panthers.
Late in the game, the Cavaliers had a couple of chances to score, but the Panthers’ defense kept the second half shutout intact.
Melvin completed 11 of 20 passes for 194 yards and four touchdowns and one interception.
Sophomore Jayden LeBeau carried 23 times for 152 yards.
Gilmore had seven receptions for 148 yards and three touchdowns.
Melvin punted three times for a 37.7-yard average.
For the Cavaliers, Cain was 11 of 19 for 106 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, which was from Panthers’ senior Luke Henry.
Junior Tylin Scales carried 19 times for 158 yards.
Senior Logan Snowden had five receptions for 63 yards and senior Keyon Williams had five catches for 52 yards.
Sophomore Carter Boltenhouse punted four times for a 36.3-yard average.
Miami Trace had 354 yards of total offense (160 rushing and 194 passing), while Chillicothe had 280 yards of offense (174 rushing and 106 passing).
Each team had one turnover and both teams had 16 first downs.