CLYDE — It took a defending state champion to end Mansfield Senior’s 2023 high school football season.
But Toledo Central Catholic was up to the task on Friday night at Clyde’s Robert Bishop Stadium. The Fighting Irish earned a 41-10 victory in the Division III, Region 10 high school football semifinal.
The top-seeded Irish (13-0) have now won 28 straight games dating to Week 1 of the 2022 season, a 23-20 loss to Division I powerhouse and reigning state champion Lakewood St. Edward. Last year TCC won the Division II state championship before dropping to Division III this season.
Still, No. 4-seed Mansfield Senior (10-3) started the night strong, roaring to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
Tygers’ quarterback Duke Reese raced 55 yards for a touchdown with 8:53 remaining in the first stanza and Quinten DeBolt’s PAT goosed Senior High on top 7-0.
On the ensuing possession, a Fighting Irish fumble set Mansfield Senior up at the 19. But coach Chioke Bradley’s team was unable to move the ball, and DeBolt split the uprights from 39 yards for a 10-0 advantage with 7:08 showing in the first period.
It was all Toledo Central Catholic after that.
Tyler Morgan started it with a 4-yard touchdown with 3:03 to play in the first quarter to slice the gap to 10-6.
It stayed that way into the second period.
Quarterback Terry Collins Jr. flipped a pass to Jaylen Watson who scooted 68 yards for a score to give TCC its first advantage, 13-7, at the 8:06 mark.
Marquan Braswell tacked on a 7-yard touchdown blast and Watson chipped in a 5-yard TD bolt as the halftime clock expired to push the margin to 27-10 at intermission.
Morgan’s 1-yard run extended the lead to 33-10 early in the third period.
With 2:24 to play in the third quarter, Collins connected with Sharard Vaughn III on a 17-yard touchdown pass and the PAT made it 41-10, starting the running clock.
TCC’s offensive line, which includes three players headed to college on Division I football scholarships, dominated the game.
Senior Marc Nave (6-foot-5, 315) has 23 Division I offers, including one from Ohio State. Fellow interior offensive lineman Elijah Williams (6-2, 297) is committed to Kent State, while three-star athlete Jaylen Watson (5-11, 175) has verbally committed to Iowa.
That group spearheaded an overpowering rushing attack that accounted for 223 yards on 49 rushing attempts. Braswell was the main culprit, ripping off 111 yards and a score.
Collins hit 7-of-9 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
TCC got the better of it across the statistical board. The Fighting Irish had more plays (58-37), first downs (18-7), total yards (392-154) and time of possession (27:23 to 20:37). They were also +2 in turnover ratio.
Reese was 7-of-19 passing for 86 yards, and ran for 48 yards to top the Tygers.
Toledo Central Catholic will play third-seeded Tiffin Columbian for a regional championship next week. The Tornadoes hammered Medina Highland 35-0 in the other regional semifinal.