Columbus Grove's Brady Hauenstein (6) and the Bulldog defense combine to stop Carey's Wllie Schafer (32) during their Division VI, Region 22 playoff game Friday night. (Putnam Sentinel/Charlie Warnimont)
Columbus Grove's Brady Hauenstein (6) and the Bulldog defense combine to stop Carey's Wllie Schafer (32) during their Division VI, Region 22 playoff game Friday night. (Putnam Sentinel/Charlie Warnimont)

COLUMBUS GROVE — Carey struck for a big play early against Columbus Grove’s defense.

After that the Bulldog defense settled in and shut down the Blue Devils offense. And when the defense came up with a turnover to start the third quarter, the Grove offense went to work.

Columbus Grove turned a third quarter interception into points that gave them the lead as they went on to a 21-7 win over Carey in the Division VI, Region 22 playoffs at Clymer Stadium. The Bulldogs (8-3) advance to the regional semi-finals next Friday night to play Attica Seneca East at 7 p.m. at a location to be announced by the OHSAA Sunday. Seneca East defeated Loudonville 33-9 in their playoff game Friday night.

It didn’t start out that way for Grove as Carey scored on their first possession after the Bulldogs drove to the Blue Devil five yard line only to be stopped and miss a 28 yard field goal.

Columbus Grove’s defense appeared to be getting the offense the ball back as they had Carey facing a fourth and seven at their own 38. However, the Blue Devils ran a fake punt and picked up the first down. Two plays later, the Blue Devils’ Jordan Dasher broke through the line, cut to his left and went 46 yards for a score with 4:27 left in the opening quarter. With the extra point Carey had a 7-0 lead.

To make matters worse for the Bulldogs on their next possession, sophomore quarterback Blake Reynolds threw an interception two plays later giving the Blue Devils great field position. The Bulldog defense stepped up and held Carey on downs to get the offense the ball back.

After these initial two drives, the Grove defense held Carey in check only giving up 191 yards for the game and coming up with four turnovers, two fumbles and two interceptions.

After the defensive stop, the Bulldogs went down and scored as Reynolds hit Gabe Clement with a pass in the left flat that he took to the endzone from 31 yards out with 9:06 left in the half. The extra point made it 7-7.

On Carey’s next two possessions, the Bulldogs recovered fumbles, but the Blue Devils defense was able to hold and force Bulldog punts. The Blue Devils nearly turned the ball over a third time in the opening half when quarterback Ethan Beringer threw a backwards pass that hit a Grove defender in the back. Carey was able to recover that fumble and ran out the first half clock.

The turnover bug hit the Blue Devils two plays into the second half as Carey was looking to the make a big play. Beringer attempted to hit a receiver down field on a fly pattern, but the play was well covered and the pass was intercepted by Grove’s Zac Ridenour.

Columbus Grove then used 13 plays to go 58 yards as Reynolds bulled over from two yards out to give the Bulldogs the lead. The drive didn’t start well for the Bulldogs who were called for back-to-back procedure penalties giving them a second and 18. After Brady Hauenstein caught a five yard pass, Trevor Taylor hauled in a pass for 16 yards and first down.

A pass interference call on Carey and two big runs by freshman Colin Metzger gave the Bulldogs a first and goal. Metzger was inserted into the lineup for Garrett Nemire, who was injured on the Bulldogs first series. Hauenstein also helped pick up the slack for Grove in the run game against the Blue Devils.

After the Bulldogs took the lead, their defense had Carey facing a fourth and five at their own 36. The Blue Devils again tried a fake punt, but this time the Bulldogs were ready and stopped Griffin Summit short of a first down giving them possession at the Carey 38.

One play into the fourth quarter, Columbus Grove padded their lead when Reynolds hit Caleb Barrientes on a post pattern down the middle of the field for a 26 yard touchdown pass and 21-7 lead after the extra point with 11:54 left to play.

Carey had a chance to get back into the game as they drove to the Bulldog 25 on their next possession. Four incomplete passes returned the ball to Grove and later they intercepted another Beringer pass to seal the win.