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LHS captures crown with win at Bellefontaine

Photos by Chris Whitacre

Story by Michael Browning


BELLEFONTAINE – CBC…CBC…The chant reverberating through an emptying stadium as the London Red Raiders got an early Christmas present as they finished the CBC Kenton Trail Division undefeated to bring home the Conference Championship with a 35-14 victory over the Bellefontaine Chieftains. The win improves the Red Raiders record to 8-2 overall and 5-0 in the CBC.


London’s defense came up huge with a turnover on Bellefontaine’s first possession, but was quickly put to the test as the offense couldn’t find their rhythm or the handle on the ball, turning the ball over on each of their first two possessions. The first quarter ended with no scoring, but London would discover their offense in the second quarter.


The Chieftains punted the ball into the end zone, giving London the ball at the 20-yard line where they weaved and bowled their way to the Bellefontaine 40-yard line. It was Ayden Cooper that took the ball down the left side 60-yards for the game’s first score and a 7-0 London lead after the Ryan Fullmer PAT.


Bellefontaine couldn’t get things going and punted again, giving London the ball at their own 43-yard line. From their they worked their way to the 29 where Jake Payne caught a pass and raced the final yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with just 1:13 to go in the first half.


The Chieftains took over and found open spaces to march down the field to score on a TD pass on the slant to cut the London lead to 14-6 after the PAT was missed.


London began the second half with momentum and the ball and marched down to the 22-yard line before fumbling the opportunity to give Bellefontaine hope. This hope, however, quickly faded.


The defense forced another punt and Cooper found a gap in the coverage and took the return down to the 25-yard line. From there, the offense pushed their way to the 1-yard line where Antwaun Burns scored to bump the lead to 21-6 with just over three-minutes remaining in the third quarter.


After a quick possession, the Red Raiders got the ball back and marched down to the 1/4-inch line where Combs called his own number on a quarterback sneak to give London a commanding 28-6 lead. Why is this so commanding? Because entering the game, the Red Raider Defense dominated opponents to the tune of only giving up 24 points in four CBC games.


The Chieftains wouldn’t go away, however, as they scored on a 1-yard TD pass to trim the lead to 28-14 after a 2-point conversion with 6:54 to go in the game.


With the Red Raiders smelling the Conference Championship, they again marched down the field, only to get a lucky bounce their way, as an offensive fumble into the hands of Noah Sollars allowed him to barrel his way 29-yards for the final points of the game, 35-14.


The Red Raiders await the final computer rankings to find out whom they will host in the first round of the OHSAA Division III Region 11 tournament game next Friday night. Their likely opponent will be Zanesville High School, who finished the season 6-3 and shut out Logan High School in Week 10.