GALION -- For a brief moment Saturday night, it appeared Galion was poised for its first football playoff win in 34 years.
The Tigers trailed Ottawa-Glandorf just 21-17 and were driving midway through the fourth quarter of a Division IV regional quarterfinal.
Junior quarterback Wilson Frankhouse, who had nearly 300 yards throwing and running Saturday, lofted a perfect pass down the right sideline.
However, the Galion receiver slipped and fell on the frozen turf. Ottawa-Glandorf sophomore defensive back Caleb Kuhlman picked the ball off and returned it 80 yards for a TD.
The score extended the Titans' lead to 28-17 and effectively ended the Tigers' season.
"The whole year, we're right there," Galion coach Matt Dick said. "It seems like we just couldn't get over the hump. We're in it. We just gotta take that next step.
"That's the game of football. These last two weeks (including a 54-44 week ten loss to Marion Pleasant), the ball has definitely not bounced our way. Whether it be a penalty here or a play there ... it just didn't click," Dick said.
Galion ends its season with an 8-3 record. O-G (8-3) advances to meet Wauseon (9-2) in the regional semifinals. The other semifinal will match Shelby (8-3) against Clyde (7-4).
Both of those games will be next Saturday at 7 p.m. at sites to be determined.
TOO MANY MISTAKES: Galion dominated the game statistically, running 17 more offensive plays than the visitors and owning an edge in yardage, 352-237.
The Tigers built a 17-14 halftime lead on TD passes of 12 and 59 yards from Frankhouse to star senior receiver Isiah Alsip and a 30-yard FG from junior Dominic Pittman.
The Titans' touchdowns came on runs of 17 and 8 yards by senior running back Eric Heebsh, who finished the game with 96 yards on 15 carries.
"We did some good things right before the half. I told the boys 'Good half.' They were (upset) because they thought we should be up a lot more. I said, 'Relax, it's playoff football. It's gonna be close,' " Dick said.
"You saw a really well-coached (O-G) team that came out and battled the second half and did some really good things," Dick said.
Frankhouse, who rushed for 112 yards on 23 carries and passed for 178 by completing 14 of 24 attempts, was picked off three times Saturday after throwing just five interceptions during the season.
The Tigers, who also committed untimely penalties, were not forced to punt until midway through the third quarter.
"In the playoffs, penalties are huge and turnovers are even bigger," said veteran O-G coach Ken Schriner. "We were fortunate because we got a couple. That was really the key in the second half.
"We didn't stop them the whole first half. We just felt like we needed one break and we got a couple of them. (Galion) battled their tails off. Give them credit. Those guys were tough. They had a great season," Schriner said.
The Titans used a short field after an interception to take a 21-17 lead with 2:11 left in the third quarter, scoring on a 1-yard sneak by junior quarterback Jacob Balbaugh.
Dick credited the Titans' defense, which doubled Alsip (7 catches, 107 yards) in the second half, for helping create the turnovers.
"Give them credit for some of the schemes. They did a great job of jamming our receivers, which makes some of those routes a little shorter, which leads to more interceptions," Dick said.
"Ultimately, we just gotta make more plays than we did. We had some things open. We just didn't execute quite right. We got some real good things to grow from," Dick said.
Dick praised the work of his senior class, which earned the home playoff game and narrowly missed claiming a share of the Mid-Ohio Athletic League title. Galion handed Shelby its only conference loss, 13-12, in week seven.
"I can't give them enough credit for all the work they put in, all the effort, all the weights they lifted, all the team bonding stuff. They really bought in. They made the team a really close-knit group and gave us a chance to have a positive season.
"Hopefully, we can go forward and grow from this. Our seniors set us up for future success," Dick said.