Liberty-Benton racked up 603 total yards, built a 21-point edge by halftime, and cruised to a 63-35 win at Archbold Friday night in the opening round of the OHSAA Division V, Region 18 football playoffs.
The senior quarterback for the Eagles, Kameron Garlock, hit on 21 of 29 passes for 388 yards, six touchdowns to zero interceptions. His top target was Seth Elchert, who caught eight passes for 221 yards and three scores.
Mason Modd added four catches for 58 yards and a pair of scores, while Lincoln Garlock grabbed five balls for 62 yards and a score.
“It’s tough to match up with athletes like that all the way across the board,” said Archbold coach David Dominique of Liberty-Benton. “It wasn’t just one, two, three guys, it was four, five, six guys that can run and catch the ball. They are a good football team. Hats off to them; they came with a great game plan. But the best thing for our guys, they never quit. They kept playing to that final whistle. And that’s what it’s all about. Even when you’re down, leave it on the field.”
A key turning point came past the midway point of the second quarter.
The Eagles led 28-7 thanks to a pair of TD passes from Kam Garlock to Elchert, one each to Modd and Lincoln Garlock with a Josiah Gomez 21-yard reception for Archbold in between.
Then the Blue Streaks took advantage of a Liberty-Benton muffed punt, using good field position which led to a six-yard TD run by Carson Dominique, pulling them within 28-14 following Krayton Kern’s extra point.
The Streaks got the ball back and drove into Eagle territory, but on a second-and-10 at the Eagle 21, Modd stepped in front of a Cade Brenner pass and returned it all the way for the touchdown. L-B would lead 35-14 at that point, with 5:23 remaining in the half.
“That was a big play,” admitted L-B coach Scott Garlock. “They got some momentum back and they were down there (ready to score). That pick six put us up. We couldn’t stop them obviously either, so that was a big, big momentum shifter the other way.”
Archbold got back to within 14 (35-21) by way of Brenner’s 38-yard pass up the right sideline to Karter Behnfeldt with 2:37 before halftime.
However, the Eagles had the answer. They put it in the end zone just over two minutes later, as yet again Kam Garlock found an open Elchert over the middle who later dove in for what was a 41-yard score.
“We knew they were athletic, it was just trying to figure out ways to slow them down. We tried to get pressure, but they were so big up front we couldn’t get past them. It was just one of those mismatches that you can’t overcome. They were good in all facets of the game,” said Coach Dominique of the Eagles’ athleticism.
L-B continued to put up points in the second half, outscoring the Streaks 21-14 after intermission.
Archbold was led on the ground by Dominique who ran for 222 yards and a score. In the passing game, Behnfeldt caught four for 92 yards and two scores, while Gomez hauled in three passes for 48 yards — two of the three resulting in TDs.
Archbold ends the season at 8-3. Liberty-Benton, also 8-3, faces another Northwest Ohio Athletic League opponent this week when they take on the No. 1 seed in Region 18, Liberty Center (11-0).
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.