MANSFIELD — The play is called 49 Buck and Ty’Lheir Grose knew it was going to work.
The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Grose escorted cousin Angelo Grose into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown in overtime against Sandusky, sending Mansfield Senior to its first ever regional championship at Clyde High School.
The play calls for Ty’Lheir Grose, Senior High’s right tackle, and right guard Ben Miller to pull and lead the ball carrier — in this case Michigan State University-bound Angelo Grose — into the hole on the left side of the line.
“As soon as they said 49, I looked toward the end zone,” Ty’Lheir Grose said. “It was the first time they pulled Ben and me and I knew it was going to work.”
The ball was resting at the 5-yard line and quarterback Cam Todd was lined up in the shotgun, five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Angelo Grose flanked Todd to the right and Terrance Flickinger was lined up to the QB’s left.
Todd faked a handoff to Flickinger, who moved from left to right in front of the QB. Angelo Grose hesitated momentarily to allow Flickinger carry out the fake to the right, then took the handoff from Todd at the 9-yard line as the 6-foot, 275-pound Miller and Ty’Lheir Grose (6-3, 280) created a wall of muscle to run behind.
Center Jawaun Irving (6-4, 385), left guard Keylen Windham (5-10, 293) and left tackle Anthony Hawkins (6-0, 270) caved in the right side of Sandusky’s defensive line, allowing Miller and Ty’Lheir Grose to seek out second-level defenders. Sandusky defensive back Xavier Parks came crashing in and made contact with Angelo Grose at about the 2-yard line, but Angelo Grose kept his feet and planted his right hand at the 1-yard line before super-manning across the goal line for the game-winner.
“As soon as I hit the first dude, I turned around and Angelo had already landed in the end zone,” said Ty’Lheir Grose, who doubles as a defensive tackle. “I can’t even explain that feeling.”
As the Senior High sideline erupted, Ty’Lheir Grose sprinted across the back of the end zone and headed for the onrushing wave of teammates.
“That celebration was crazy,” he said. “That’s why we did all those sprints in the summer were for. We worked way too hard to lose.”
Like his cousin, Angelo Grose knew the play call was the right one.
“We had crossing action with Terrance going (left to right) on the fake and me following Ty’Lheir and Ben back to the left,” Angelo said. “I just knew I had to get it into the end zone.”
The escort Miller and Ty’Lheir Grose provided on the final play paled in comparison to the one the Tygers received as they left town last Friday afternoon.
“When we were coming here tonight, we had a police escort out of town and there were people lining the streets, holding up signs and cheering for us,” Ty’Lheir Grose said. “This is bigger than us.
“This is for our community. They come out to support us so this is for them, too.”
Next up for Mansfield Senior (12-1) is a state semifinal showdown with Aurora (13-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Nordonia High School in Macedonia. The Greenmen beat Chardon 22-19 to reach the Final Four.
“I don’t even know what it’s going to be like to play in the state semifinals,” Ty’Lheir Grose said, “but I can’t wait.”