The Black River Pirates kept pace with the top-seeded South Range Raiders in the first half on Friday, but ultimately fell 40-16 in the Division V Region 17 championship.
The Pirates’ (11-2) dominant senior rushing trio of Jacob Campbell, Travis Sexton, and Riley Gibbs was held to respective yardage of 84, 50, and 32 after racking up nearly 500 during earlier playoff rounds.
South Range (13-0) gained 330 yards on the ground, riding their own senior stars, quarterback Aniello Buzzacco (170 yards) and running back Peyton Remish (130).
A 24-yard touchdown run by Buzzacco opened scoring before Black River answered with a 29-yard pass from Riley Bartolic to Sexton.
Late in the first quarter, Buzzacco picked up a Black River fumble and returned it 75 yards to take a 12-8 lead.
Buzzacco struck again in the second quarter, this time on a 54-yard run before Gibbs hauled in a Bartolic pass from 49 yards out to make the score 19-16 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Buzzacco caused even more problems with an interception just as the Pirates were driving to take the lead. On the ensuing drive, he scored from 25-yards out to create a two-score lead that Black River was unable to overcome.
Touchdowns from Remish and Mathias Combs rounded out scoring for the Raiders, who advance to play in this Sunday’s state semifinal against Pemberville Eastwood.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.