Alliance, OH - The Aviators entered their week five matchup against Salem with a 1-3 record after a rough go in their nonconference schedule. The lone bright spot in the first four weeks had been the previous week’s 56-6 win over Minerva to open EBC play. On the other hand, Salem entered the game with a 4-0 record and averaging 45.75 points per game. At the end of the night, Alliance managed to take home a hard fought 27-21 overtime win to stun the Quakers.
In the first quarter, Salem quickly jumped out to a 14-0 lead after a 9-yard touchdown run by Dominic Maniscalco (PAT was good) and a massive 64-yard touchdown run up the middle on a quarterback keeper by Jackson Johnson (PAT was good). After that point, the Aviators dialed in defensively and only allowed one more touchdown for the rest of the night. Alliance finally got in the board halfway through the second quarter when Coach Goodman drew up a trick play. Quarterback Brendan Zurbrugg fired a quick pass to K’Vaughn Davis and Davis then stepped up and fired a pass down the sideline to Adam Zumbar for a 46-yard touchdown pass (PAT was good). This cut the Salem lead in half and the two teams went to the locker room with Salem leading 14-7.
The second half saw Alliance come out firing with the Aviators going on a 14-0 run to open the third quarter. Zurbrugg found Louie Antonasanti in the endzone (PAT was good) for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 7:30 remaining in the quarter to tie the game at 14-14. Just a few minutes later after an Ovie Jones goal line interception, Kayden Davis put the Aviators in front 21-14 when he got loose over the middle and hauled in an 80-yard touchdown pass from Zurbrugg. Both teams struggled to finish drives for the remainder of the half with Salem scoring the last points of regulation when Blaize Exline punched it in from the 1-yard line (PAT was good) to tie the game at 21-21. Alliance had a chance to win the game at the buzzer but, Zurbrugg’s kick was short. In overtime, the Aviators hit paydirt when Zurbrugg pitched the ball to Kayden Davis on an option play to the left. Davis snagged the ball on the pitch, turned up the field, turned on the jets, and blew into the endzone to put the Aviators on top (PAT was no good) 27-21. On Salem’s possession, they were able to get all the way to the goal before a penalty pushed them back. On third and goal, Ovie Jones came up with a big pass breakup on a pass to the endzone to force a fourth and long for the Quakers. With the game on the line on fourth and goal, Johnson fired a pass to the endzone that fell incomplete to clinch the win for Alliance.
The Gionino’s player of the game was Ovie Jones for the tremendous game that he had on the defensive side of the ball for the Aviators. With the win, Alliance improved to 2-3 (2-0 EBC) and will travel to take on Carrollton next week. As for the Quakers, they fell to 4-1 (0-1 EBC) on the season and will host Minerva next week as they look to bounce back.