CINCINNATI — It was a rainy, dreary night at Cincinnati McNicholas High School Friday in a Division IV, Region 16 first round high school football playoff match-up between the Washington Blue Lions and the McNicholas Rockets.
The Rockets got off to a hot start in the first quarter and never looked back, taking a 48-0 lead at halftime. The Blue Lions defense held McNicholas scoreless in the second half with a running clock, and were able to break loose for two rushing touchdowns — for a final score of 48-13.
Washington ends its season with a record of 4-6 overall, 2-3 in the Frontier Athletic Conference.
McNicholas improved to 9-1 on the season and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The Rockets will host 9-1 Bethel-Tate Friday at 7 p.m. Bethel-Tate beat Cincinnati Schroeder in the first round, 44-0.
In the first quarter, Ty Snyder rushed for two touchdowns — one from 35 yards out and one from 20 — and receiver Ben Bobo returned a Washington punt 47 yards for a 21-0 lead.
Following another 10-yard rush for a touchdown by Snyder, it was the Ben Bobo show in the second quarter. He ran for a touchdown from two yards out, and caught two more touchdown passes to give the Rockets the 48-0 lead. The Rockets also capitalized on two Blue Lion turnovers in the second.
Washington didn’t record a first down until late in the half.
With 7:44 to go in the third quarter, the Blue Lions got on the board with a 10-yard touchdown run from quarterback Troy Thompson. The extra point was no good and the score was McNicholas, 48-6.
On the next drive, Washington’s Mason Coffman intercepted a pass by Rockets’ quarterback Isaac White.
The Blue Lions capitalized on the drive by marching down the field and scoring on a Rocky Jones’ touchdown run from 18 yards out. R.J. Foose’s extra point was good and the score was 48-13.
McNicholas finished with 343 total yards (211 rushing, 132 passing) and Washington finished with 183 total yards (94 rushing, 89 passing).
For Washington, Thompson threw for 89 yards on 8-17 passing, Nydrell Wright led the Lions in rushing with 54 yards on 11 carries, and A.J. Dallmayer had two receptions for 36 yards.
Blue Lion head coach Chuck Williamson said his team needed to play mistake-free football to win the game, but failed to do so.
“They’re a really good football team, we knew that going in,” he said. “They’re sound physically and they’re very well-coached. We made some mistakes early and got behind, and it just compounded.”
As for his assessment of the 2021 season, Williamson said he thought his team underachieved a bit and a couple of plays could have made the difference between being 4-6 and having a very successful season.
“You take two plays from our season, one play down at Trace on a field goal, and if we kick that field goal we’re hosting Graham at home on Friday night instead of going to McNicholas. We would have had the eight seed. Then with Chillicothe, we had six chances to win the game and we didn’t. We tell our kids all the time, ‘You never know when your number is going to be called and it’s going to be your turn to win a game or lose a game.’ Two plays made a huge difference this year. But we do return nine on offense and eight on defense, so next year looks very bright.”