(CANTON, Ohio) – A Nick Gassman 2-yard run with 57 seconds left lifted Walsh over Alderson Broaddus for a 42-39 victory on Senior Day at Tom Benson Saturday. The Cavaliers (3-6, 3-4) and Battlers (3-7, 2-5) exchanged leads six times in the shootout, including five times in the second half.
The scoring started early for the Maroon and Gold with Koby Adu-Poku putting Walsh out front 14-0 by way of a couple rushing touchdowns. The first one came on Walsh's first drive as the speedy sophomore raced 67-yards three plays in. After a second defensive stop, Walsh drove down and scored again with Adu-Poku carrying it from in from two yards.
Alderson Broaddus eventually answered on its next drive with a big play of its own on a 41-yard run by quarterback Joe Czelusniak two minutes later. The fireworks kept coming as Walsh scored on the next drive as Jerome Harris caught an 18-yard pass from Gassman to make the score 21-6.
The Battlers then made a charge in the final minutes of the first half thanks to a blocked punt and fumble which helped lead to three touchdowns and a 28-26 advantage at halftime.
Harris put the Cavs back in front once again right after halftime on a 28-yard reception from Gassman to help make the score 28-26. Walsh ended up driving once again on its next possession, but the Battlers' Ryan Smith took a bobbled pass and intercepted it with a 66-yard touchdown to make the score 32-28.
Walsh's next drive saw the Cavs drive down to the three before being faced with 4th and goal. Gassman then completed his third touchdown pass of the day as he found Macklin Coleman in the back of the end zone.
Another big play put AB back in front as the Battlers connected on a 62-yard pass from Czelusniak to Maurice Thomas to make the score 39-35.
Afterwards, both defenses started to step up, but none more than the Cavaliers when AB attempted to go for it on 4th and 1 from its own 40 with 4:00 left on the clock in the fourth. Leondre Crosby and Myles Williams got a great jump on the snap and was able to bring the Battlers' Jamil Collison-Cofie down in the backfield at the 38 to set up the game-winning drive.
Despite being just 38 yards away, Alderson Broaddus made the Cavaliers work for it as the drive took nine plays and 3:03 off the clock. The Cavs were faced with a 4th down once, but Gassman found Deondre Cook on an 11-yard slant to set up shop on the 2-yard line. After a timeout, Gassman tucked it in and went up the middle for the go-ahead score.
Not out of the woods yet, Alderson Broaddus was able to drive down and attempt a game-tying field goal, but Austin Hampton's attempt hit the crossbar from 51-yards out as time expired.
Gassman's career day ended with 264 yards through the air on 23 completions in 35 attempts with three touchdowns. His favorite target was Harris who caught four for 97 yards with a pair of scores. Adu-Poku returned to his familiar mark of rushing for over 100 yards with 190 on 26 attempts for an average of 7.3 per carry.
Defensively Crosby, Nick Sanchez, and Stephen Baugh all led the team with nine tackles. Crosby picked up 3.5 tackles for loss, including two quarterback sacks with a blocked kick. His TFL's totaled a net loss of 15 yards for the Battlers.
The Cavs now set their sights on the season finale with their arch rival Malone. While the game is still at Tom Benson Stadium, Walsh will be the designated visitors for the game. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.