The homecoming game that wasn't at home: South Range-Lisbon pregame filled with emotion



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The South Range-Lisbon Anderson game wasn't nearly as dramatic as what happened before it even began.

The schools arranged for both bands to perform the National Anthem prior to the kickoff so that South Range lineman Travis Bernard and his sister, Taylor, a band member, would be on the field at the same time.

Seconds after the music stopped, Doug Bernard, an Air Force Master Sgt. who had hurried back from a four-month deployment to Kuwait and Qatar, strolled through the tunnel and surprised his children and wife Denise with an emotional embrace.

"I told them I missed them and loved them," Doug Bernard said. "It was overwhelming. With this being Travis' senior year, I really wanted to surprise them."

"We thought he was coming back tonight, but we didn't know when," Travis Bernard said. "I never expected to see him coming out of the tunnel. It was very emotional."

Once the game started Bernard helped pave the way for Joe Alessi, who carried 20 times for 290 yards and four touchdowns, in South Range's 56-32 road victory.

"I played the game tonight for my dad," Bernard said. "It's really hard when he's away, but I'm glad he's back now."

ALL OR NOTHING: The new so-called "mercy rule" in Ohio prep football — a running clock when the game gets out of hand — has been a part of all four of Sidney's games. The Yellow Jackets have lost at St. Marys Memorial 71-21 and to Bellefontaine 41-7, then won at West Carrollton 55-28 and beat Fairborn 35-12 — all in the new game-shortened format.

NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS: Jackson had four TD runs of at least 62 yards in a 42-14 win over D6 No. 2 Columbus Ready; Oak Hill defeated Wellston 40-6 in the last currently-scheduled meeting between the two Jackson County Rivals; three generations of officials worked the Oak Hill at Rock Hill game on Sept. 12: grandfather Jim Mahlmeister, son Jimmy Mahlmeister and his son Justin Mahlmeister, who was working his very first varsity game; Middletown Bishop Fenwick (1-3) has lost to three teams that are now 4-0, and faces Hamilton Badin (4-0) this week; Delta beat Bryan 41-28, ending Bryan's 25-game regular-season winning streak; D4 No. 1 Clarksville Clinton-Massie has outscored its four opponents 204-7; and led by LB Grant Nolder and his three sacks, unbeaten Dresden Tri-Valley allowed only 56 yards in a 35-0 win against defending Division II poll champion Zanesville, avenging a 52-7 loss to the Blue Devils in 2013.

STREAKING: Kirtland has won 49 straight regular-season games, dating to Sept. 24, 2009, when the Hornets lost to Cuyahoga Heights, 20-10.

GROUND CONTROL: Columbiana Crestview's Zach Hicks tied a school record with 322 yards rushing and scored four TDs in a 56-32 win over East Palestine; Cody Fitzwater ran for 309 yards and 3 TDs and Mario McFarren scored four times on the ground as Dalton had 545 rushing yards in 59-42 win over West Salem Northwestern; D'Angelo Palladino ran for 270 yards and Ironton had 532 rushing yards in a 41-7 rout of rival Ashland, Kentucky; and Camden Preble Shawnee's Brandon Frost gained 254 yards on 38 carries and scored two TDs in a 43-33 win over Middletown Madison.

AIR FORCES: In Convoy Crestview's 41-31 win over Bluffton, Crestview's Preston Zaleski passed for one TD and ran for four, while Bluffton's Mitchell Ault had one rushing TD and completed 23 of 40 passes for 368 yards and four scores, all to Robbie Stratton; Marion Local's Dustin (Doc) Rethman entered last Friday's game against Minster having completed 13 of 19 passes for 322 yards and seven TDs on the season, then completed 13 of 19 for 338 yards and five TDs in a 56-28 win; Jacob Harrison had 343 yards passing in Dayton Chaminade Julienne's 54-29 defeat of Dayton Carroll; Mike Mills' lone catch came on a game-winning 73-yard TD strike from Jamahl Manley with 59 seconds left as Dayton Thurgood Marshall stunned Cincinnati Winton Woods, 39-35; D3 No. 8 Mount Orab Western Brown defeated Blanchester, 60-57, while rushing for 480 yards and getting 150 yards rushing and 387 yards and six TDs passing from QB Chaiten Tomlin (Christian Dawson had 10 catches for 270 yards and four scores); and Clyde's Austin Baker threw a school-record six TD passes, and only had six incompletions (18-of-24) while throwing for 309 yards in a 41-0 win at Castalia Margaretta.

WILD FINISH: Trailing 40-33 with less than a minute to go against Elida, St. Marys Memorial went with the "Lonesome Polecat" formation to set up Dustin Howell's 44-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Fitzgerald to tie the game with Zac Nelson, a soccer player who replaced the regular placekicker after a couple of misses, hitting the point-after. The Roughriders scored first in OT on a Howell 1-yard run with Nelson connecting on the PAT. Elida came back as Logan Alexander hit Clark Etzler for an 11-yard score. Elida, which had missed its previous two PATs, went for two. Etzler appeared to have caught Alexander's pass for the win, but the official ruled Etzler had stepped out before the catch, giving the Roughriders a 47-46 win — and an end to their 20-game Western Buckeye League losing streak.

HE'S BA-ACK: Brody Hoying, last year's D5 offensive player of the year, had just two plays on offense in his first game back after injury but scored on two short runs to lead Coldwater to a 23-0 win over St. Henry in The Backyard Battle — the Cavaliers' 19th straight win over St. Henry.

DOING IT ALL: Pandora-Gilboa's Jacob Basinger threw for three TDs, ran for three and booted five PATs in the Rockets' 41-15 win over Cory-Rawson.

PAYBACK: Norwalk rallied from a 21-0 late second-quarter deficit to score 35 unanswered points in a 35-21 win at Tiffin Columbian. It was the first time Norwalk beat Columbian since 1992, and only the third win against the Tornadoes since 1980. Columbian handed Norwalk its only two losses of the season in 2013, 24-20 and 34-28 in double-overtime in a first-round D3 playoff game. Breck Turner ran 25 times for 224 yards and three TDs in the win, and returned a kickoff 78 yards for a fourth score.


Rusty Miller can be reached at http://twitter.com/RustyMillerAP

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