BARBERTON — After an unlikely run that started with a double-digit comeback and finished with nine more wins in a row, Barberton’s perfect season came to an end Friday night.
The Magics ran out of tricks against a stingy Dresden Tri-Valley defense and fell 10-0 in a defensive slugfest Division II regional quarterfinal.
Barberton (10-1) had success moving the ball, gaining more than 300 yards of total offense, but the Magics also dealt with plenty of self-inflicted wounds. Barberton was flagged for 11 penalties — including three for unsportsmanlike conduct — totaling 95 yards and turned the ball over three times.
One of those turnovers resulted in the only touchdown of the game — a 35-yard interception return by Scotties senior cornerback Cade Sterling with less than a minute remaining in the first half. Added to a 32-yard field goal by Tri-Valley's Kaden Bay, the pick-6 gave the Scotties (10-1) a two-possession advantage heading into the half.
“Offensively, we just couldn’t get it going,” Barberton coach Anthony Gotto said. “When we had a big play, then we’d have a penalty."
Tri-Valley advanced to play Wadsworth, a 42-38 winner over Wooster, next Friday at a site to be determined.
Magics star running back Kyree Young found his legs in the second half, picking up 78 yards on eight carries, after gaining just 18 yards on eight touches before halftime.
“On film, the kid is tremendous,” Tri-Valley coach Kevin Fell said of Young. “But he basically had places to run. We tried to stop him before he got going. When he got going, he was a load to take down."
Gotto said he was frustrated by some of the 15-yard penalties his players received, but expressed pride in the way his veterans reacted.
“We try to do things the right way,” Gotto said. “We’ve gotten punched, we’ve gotten headbutted, we’ve gotten kicked, but our kids have responded well. ... I respect my kids, and I respect the way they play the game.”
Barberton will lose 10 starters to graduation, but will retain Young and starting quarterback Chase Haywood for two more seasons. Senior Spencer Hutchison ended his career with an interception.
“They’re a special group of kids,” Gotto said of the senior class. “Many of them have played since youth football. I cherish it. We preach hard work, and that’s what they did. That’s why they were able to pull two undefeated seasons in a row.”