CANTON — Gunner Golden rumbled for 114 yards and three touchdowns as Clyde capped an improbable run to a state championship with a resounding 42-14 win over Newark Licking Valley in the Division IV state championship game Saturday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
The Fliers (11-4) qualified for the Region 14 playoffs as the No. 8 seed. Clyde tied for fourth in the rugged Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference and lost three straight games late in the regular season before securing a playoff spot with a Week 10 win over Bellevue.
“It’s tough to put into words the feeling right now,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “This group, and I’m going to get emotional, but this group has bought in. They didn’t blink. They just said, ‘Hey, we’re going to get it done. We’re going to get in and figure it out.’ I made a statement a while ago that if we get in (the playoffs), we’ve got a shot. This group was just determined to play.”
Clyde quarterback Ryan Lozier completed 8 of 9 passes for 96 yards and rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
Lozier got the Fliers on the scoreboard late in the first quarter on a 1-yard run, capping a nine-play, 47-yard drive. The lead was short-lived, however, as Licking Valley’s Mitchell Ford put the finishing touches on a 10-play, 62-yard drive with an 8-yard run early in the second quarter.
After that, it was all Clyde.
Golden plowed in from 2 yards out late in the second quarter to give the Fliers a 14-7 lead and added a pair of 1-yard plunges in the third quarter. Lozier added his second scoring run of the afternoon in the third, a 1-yarder in which he went airborne to clear the line of scrimmage, before Golden capped it with a 5-yard blast with 4:16 remaining.
The Panthers (14-1) scored in the final minute when quarterback Logan Bragg hooked up with Carson Conley on a 4-yard scoring strike.
Bragg completed 11 of 22 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. Mitchell Ford rushed for 32 yards on eight carries, while Hayden Hile and Bodee Creech each had three catches for 42 yards.