Its undefeated high school football season gone, Centerville regrouped in its grand tradition. That’s equal parts of working hard, getting chippy in practice and unloading the next opportunity.
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“Coach challenged us this week to bounce back,” said senior receiver Jake Spiewak following a 43-28 defeat of visiting Fairmont on Friday night. “To be honest, Fairmont has always been a big game for us. We just wanted to keep the tradition of winning going.”
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Centerville (8-1) did just that. A week after losing at Northmont, the Elks posted their 20th consecutive defeat of the Firebirds (6-3), a win streak that began in 1998. It also secured their No. 1 computer ranking and clinched a playoff spot among Division I, Region 3 teams, otherwise known as the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East.
Centerville senior quarterback Alec Grandin, senior running back Ross Harmon and Spiewak were outstanding against one of the GWOC’s best defenses. Grandin completed 24 of 29 passes for 270 yards and no picks. Even better, he ran for four touchdowns, including three in the first half.
Harmon, the son of former Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Andy Harmon, led the Elks with 129 yards rushing and scored on an 18-yard blast. Spiewak benefitted when the Firebirds committed to stopping the run, making a career-high 13 catches for 160 yards.
That was the kind of offensive fireworks that were missing in a 21-14 Week 8 loss at Northmont.
“Coach said to forget that loss and get our minds back on track and work hard and do what we’ve done all year,” Grandin said. “We have a wall in (the locker room) with all the WOL and GWOC championships and we want to put our name on the wall.”
Centerville (3-0) clinched a tie with Wayne (3-1) for the GWOC National East title and can win it outright in the Week 10 season finale against visiting Beavercreek (6-3, 1-2).
Fairmont senior running back David Stamer had 135 yards rushing and scored on runs of 49 and 18 yards. Fairmont led 7-3 on Stamer’s first score, but Centerville responded by bunching 14 points in seven seconds. That included a return of a Fairmont fumbled kickoff return for a touchdown by Centerville’s Ross Garrett.
It was the second straight loss to Centerville for Fairmont coach Dave Miller, a former standout Elks QB in the early 1980s.
“It’s no shame in losing to them,” he said. “We had opportunities and you can’t just give them points. You do that against good teams and they’ll just hammer you.”
On the D-I, Region 3 playoff bubble with its second straight loss, Fairmont must likely beat Springfield (6-3) next week to qualify for the postseason.
Centerville coach Brent Ullery was especially pleased the Elks responded as challenged before a capacity crowd.
“We were coming off a big letdown,” he said. “It did feel like we crashed pretty hard and we needed to get up. It’s a credit to our players. I don’t want to say it was a wake-up call, but at the same time it put a little extra pressure on us. We felt we’ve got to do something a little bit better here.”
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