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Malvern falls to Youngstown Christian

By Bob Evans
Sports Editor

Malvern High School playoff game
Malvern's Cobin Plessinger led the Hornets in rushing last Friday night in their playoff game with Youngstown Christian with 164 yards.

AKRON: The Youngstown Christian Eagles exploded for 18 third quarter points in defeating the Malvern Hornets 25-20 in the Division VI, Region 21 playoff game last Friday night at Green Street Stadium.

The Hornets, who were making their sixth straight semifinal appearance, end an excellent season at 10-2.

For the Eagles, it was their second playoff win in school history and improved their record to 11-1.

The Eagles will play Mogadore Friday night in the regional championship game.

“This was definitely a tough loss,” said Malvern head coach Dave Tucci. “Especially with the way we started the game. They hit some passes to keep them in the game in the first half that we had well defended.

“In the third quarter they got their running game going and didn’t slow down the rest of the way. The toughest part was letting them pick up a first down on fourth and six on their go ahead drive and some key third downs.”

Malvern received the opening kickoff and drove 60-plus yards behind the hard running of senior Brady Weber and junior Cobin Plessinger.

Plessinger capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The Hornets took nearly eight minutes off of the clock. The point after kick was blocked by the Eagles leaving the Hornets with a 6-0 lead.

Malvern got on the board again in the second quarter on a 21-yard Weber run. Plessinger added the two-point conversion run for a 14-0 lead with 5:16 left in the first half.

The Eagles answered with 3:28 remaining in the half on a 28-yard pass from quarterback Emmitt Underwood to Nick Gonda.

Malvern led 14-7 at halftime.

Things got pretty wild in the third quarter.

Youngstown Christian scored on its third play from scrimmage on a 43-yard run by running back Ryan Grier, but the point after was missed leaving the Hornets with a 14-13 advantage.

Malvern put together a nice drive down into the Red Zone on their first position, but turned the ball over on downs when they failed to pick up a first down on fourth and four.
The Eagles took advantage, scoring in just three plays on a 40-yard pass from Underwood to Darian Townsend, giving Christian its first lead of the game at 19-14. The conversion run failed.

It didn’t take the Hornets long to respond as junior quarterback Trey Tucci hit senior Max Kapron with a 61-yard scoring strike on the first play following a good kickoff return by Plessinger with 2:42 left in the period. But again, the run for the two-point conversion failed.

“Trey (Tucci) and Max (Kapron) connected on some key passes to keep us in the game and giving us a chance to win,” noted Coach Tucci.

Grier scored for the second time in the quarter on a 17 yard run with 42-seconds remaining in the third.

The Hornets put together another nice drive that ended with no points. Malvern drove down to the Eagles’ nine yardline. But the Eagle defense rose up and sacked Tucci on back-to-back plays forcing the Hornets to turn the ball over on downs with 5-minutes left in the game.

Malvern had one last chance with just seconds remaining. They started on their own 20-yardline, after stopping the Eagles on downs, but the clock ran out ending the Hornets’ season.

Plessinger had another huge game for Malvern rushing for 164 yards on 34 carries, while Weber added 53 yards on 12 carries.

“Cobin (Plessinger) and Brady (Weber), as always, ran hard all night, but they made some adjustment that forced us to pass a little more in the second half.

“We had a good year, 10-2 and to week 12 of the playoffs is a lot more than most expected. Our seniors took part in nine playoff games over their careers. What a great group to coach for four years. We appreciate all they did for our football program,” said the Malvern coach.

Tucci hit 9-of-12 passes for 174 yards. Kapron was Tucci’s main target with five catches for 160 yards.

Josh Holmes led the Hornet defense with 17 tackles, including one for a loss.
For the Eagles, Grier had another huge game. After being held to just 26 yards in the first half, Grier rushed for 191 yards in the second half to finish with 217 yards on 19 carries.
Underwood ended his night hitting 9-of-20 passes for 190 yards.

YOUNGSTOWN CHRISTIAN:          0  7  18  0 - 25
MALVERN:                              6   8    6   0 - 20

MALVERN: Cobin Plessinger 1-yard run (kick blocked)

MALVERN: Brady Weber 21-yard run (Plessinger run)
YOUNGSTOWN: Nick Gonda 28-yard pass from Emmett Underwood (Yargo kick)

YOUNGSTOWN: Ryan Grier 43-yard run (kick failed)
YOUNGSTOWN: Darian Townsend 40-yard pass from Emmett Underwood (run failed)
MALVERN: Max Kapron 61-yard pass from Trey Tucci (run failed)
YOUNGSTOWN: Ryan Grier 17-yard run (run failed)

FIRST DOWN: Youngstown Christian 13, Malvern 16. RUSHING: Youngstown Christian 30-234, Malvern 52-175. PASSING: Youngstown Christian 9-20-190, Malvern 7-12-173, FUMBLES/LOST: Youngstown Christian 1-0, Malvern 1-0. PENALTIES: Youngstown Christian 5-65, Malvern 5-35.

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