COLUMBUS -- Lucas drove 80 yards on 13 plays to score the game-winning TD Saturday night with 57 seconds left in a 15-12 Division VII state semifinal victory over Canal Winchester Harvest Prep.
Facing a 4th-and-goal from the Harvest Prep 13-yard line, Lucas QB Logan Niswander found senior tight end Riley Mounts on a throw-back pass in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead TD. The Cubs ran in the two-point conversion and led 15-12 with 54 seconds remaining.
The winning drive ate 6:38 off the fourth-quarter clock.
Harvest Prep took the ensuing kickoff but was unable to move the ball.
Lucas (12-2) will play perennial power Marion Local (12-2) in the state championship on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.
Marion Local pounded Patrick Henry 40-7 in the other semifinal game Saturday night, triggering a running clock.
Harvest Prep ends its season 12-2 with the loss at Columbus St. Francis DeSales Alumni Stadium. The Cubs snapped the Warriors' 12-game victory streak.
A 45-yard run by Niswander helped key the final drive. Lucas coach Scott Spitler said the 4th-down TD play was "drawn up in the dirt" during a timeout before the snap, successfully taking advantage of an aggressive Harvest Prep secondary.
The Cubs became the second Richland County school in as many nights to earn spots in a state football title game. Mansfield Senior (13-1) knocked off Aurora on Friday night, 27-21, in double overtime in a Division III state semifinal.
Harvest Prep grabbed a 12-7 lead with 7:35 remaining in the game when Rashaun Goines took a slant pass and raced 76 yards for a TD on a 3rd-and-9 from the Warriors' own 24-yard line. A 2-point conversion run failed.
Harvest Prep's Javon Eggert scored on a 3rd-and-goal run from five yards out, putting the Warriors on the board with 2:05 left in the third quarter. Harvest Prep tried to run in the two-point conversion, but the Lucas defense stuffed the attempt.
Ethan Sauder ripped off a 75-yards TD bolt on the first Lucas possession of the second half, putting the Cubs ahead 7-0 with 6:21 left in the third quarter.
Harvest Prep took the kick to start the second half and marched from its own 37-yard-line, moving to the Lucas 16 on 11 plays. The drive stalled and the Warriors tried a 34-yard field goal, which Lucas blocked.
Statistically speaking, Lucas had 262 yards of total offense, gaining 10 first downs. The Cubs rushed for 231 yards on 43 carries and completed 4 of 7 passes for 31 yards. Lucas was flagged three times for 15 yards.
Running back Tommy Zirzow led Lucas with 98 yards on 27 carries. Sauder had seven carries for 84 yards. Niswander, who completed 4 of 7 passes for 31 yards, also rushed for 35 yards on eight attempts. Tristen Arnold had two catches for 14 yards. Mounts had the one catch for 13 yards, only his second TD of the season.
Harvest Prep had 10 first downs with 230 yards of total offense. The Warriors gained 114 yards rushing on 33 carries and passed for 116 yards, completing five of 14. Harvest Prep was penalized 11 times for 85 yards.
Eggert rushed 19 times for 59 yards. QB Josiah Carroll gained 24 yards on 13 attempts. Goines had two catches for 81 yards.
Both teams love to run the football and neither team scored in the first 24 minutes. The first half featured great defense by both teams, combined with two Cubs' fumbles and seven costly penalties for the Warriors.
In that first half, Lucas rushed for 83 yards, including 69 on 19 carries from Zirzow. The Cubs had eight yards passing and six first downs in the first half.
Harvest Prep rushed for 39 yards and had zero yards passing in the first half. Eggert had 27 yards rushing on nine carries while the Warriors had four first downs. Harvest Prep was flagged seven times for 55 yards.
Lucas advanced to the state semifinals with a 21-13 win against Cuyahoga Heights last Saturday. Harvest Prep defeated Newark Catholic 22-15 in its regional final game.