Mount Healthy turned two fourth-quarter Ross turnovers into nine points en rout to a comeback 22-20 victory over the Rams to improve to 4-0 in the FAVC Scarlet, keeping hope alive for an outright division title in 2010.
Mount Healthy trailed the majority of the contest before taking advantage of late Ross mistakes.
The Fighting Owl defense held strong and prevented Ross from taking control of the game by way of turnovers.
"Our mindset is take care of what we can control," coach Arvie Crouch said. "We controlled this and we made some good plays, but hats off to Ross. They played a heck of a game."
Ross held a slim 7-6 lead before capitalizing on a Mount Healthy fumble with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter. After turning the ball over on downs while coming up short on a fourth and 6, junior Cody Lotton recovered a fumble at the Mount Healthy 27. Ram quarterback Brady Foley found Logan Hannon in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown pass stretching the Ross lead to 14-6. It looked like Lotton may have finally given the Rams the break they needed and swung the momentum toward the home team.
--Postgame: Tracey Barnes, Mt. Healthy
--Postgame: Arvie Crocuh, Mt. Healthy
"That's football. Stuff happens. You just have to play through it," Mount Healthy senior running back Tracey Barnes said when asked about the significance of turnovers in the game. Barnes collected 157 rushing yards for Mount Healthy, including the deciding touchdown.
Mount healthy indeed played through it answering the score on their ensuing drive when quarterback Denzel Larkin connected with Brent Gray for a 39-yard touchdown reception. The Fighting Owls, however, couldn't convert the two-point conversion to tie the game.
Instead the Owls capitalized on late Ross mistakes to steal the victory. Mount Healthy took its first lead since the first quarter with a 34-yard field goal set up by a Ross fumble.
The Rams looked poised to score driving into Mount Healthy territory, when they lost another fumble.
Then Barnes made the Rams pay finishing off the Fighting Owls' drive with an 8-yard touchdown run to give Mount Healthy a 22-14 advantage with five minutes left.
Ross made a strong effort to tie the game. Foley threw a 64-yard pass to Brennan McGuire which set up a short touchdown pass to Hannon. The Rams then attempted a two-point conversion, but came up short.
Mount Healthy gave Ross a handful of mistakes to capitalize on earlier in the contest, and the missed opportunities proved costly.
Ross had a chance to expand its slim first half lead, but Mason Bolser's 27-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Mount Healthy's Tyrell Hines as time expired in the first half.
Mount Healthy also fumbled the kickoff to open the second half, but a Foley interception erased the chance to take advantage of the Fighting Owls mistake.
Mount Healthy looks to be in a favorable position to earn a Region 8 postseason berth with a win in its final contest against Norwood.
If they earn that opportunity arises, Barnes hopes to silence the doubters.
"Honestly, I think we can go all the way," Barnes said. "People underestimate Mount Healthy because people don't understand what we got."
Written by: Katie Budke, TriStateFootball.com