By ANDY WOLF
GALION — Ottawa-Glandorf’s defense sure tightened things up in the second half Saturday night.
The Titans pitched a second-half shutout with three interceptions and got a late pick-six to seal a 28-17 victory over Galion in a Division IV, Region 14 football quarterfinal.
“Defense, especially in the second half, pitched a shutout and really got after them and played well, shut down all the things they were able to do in the first half,” O-G coach Ken Schriner said.
No. 6-seed Ottawa-Glandorf (8-3) picked up its first playoff win since 2016 and will meet No. 2 Wauseon (9-2) in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Saturday at Defiance High School.
Galion bowed out at 8-3.
The Titans held the Tigers, who put up 39.5 points per game, to their second-lowest point total of the season and below 30 points for just the third time on the year.
O-G also intercepted Galion junior quarterback Wilson Frankhouse four times, three in the second half. Frankhouse entered Saturday’s game with just five interceptions in 251 attempts.
O-G sophomore Caleb Kuhlman had a pair of interceptions, one in each half, including a pivotal 79-yard pick six to put the game away with 6:40 to go.
“We did a great job, really turned around the game, helped us win,” Kuhlman said.
The Tigers took a 17-14 lead into halftime as the teams traded three lead changes.
Galion was on the verge of scoring again, marching 63 yards in 12 plays to face a fourth-and-1 at the O-G 22.
The Titans stood tall, allowing no yards to Frankhouse, who had already run five times for 37 yards during the drive.
“Huge. It’s a game of ebb and flow, getting up and getting down,” Schriner said.
While O-G quickly went three-and-out, its defense got the Titans the ball back.
On third-and-14, Will Kaufman picked off Frankhouse in double coverage at the 50 and returned it to the 36.
Three runs by Eric Heebsh put the ball at the 1, and Jacob Balbaugh punched in the QB sneak to put the Titans on top 21-17 with 2:11 left in the third.
Both teams traded boots on their next drives.
The Tigers got on the move again, gaining two first downs just across midfield.
Then, the Titans caught a break.
Frankhouse took a shot downfield, only to have receiver Jackson Staton fall down at the 25.
Kuhlman let the ball come to him, made the pick and took off down the sideline for a 79-yard pick-six.
His burst put the final points on the board and the nail in Galion’s coffin with 6:40 remaining.
“There was only one guy on the outside so I thought I’d take him in a little bit,” Kuhlman said of his coverage. “They dove and I just took it down the sideline.
“It helped us out a lot; two-score game.”
Galion coach Matt Dick felt the tough break was just a bad bounce.
“You tackle the guy and play good defense, we get the ball back and you get a chance to do it again,” he said. “Kid slipping, that’s part of life.
“… The bottom line is, all we can do is control our response.”
Heebsh led the Titans with 116 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.
He scored on runs of 8 and 17 yards in the first and second quarters. His initial TD put O-G on the board first while his second tied the game 14-14 at the 8:22 mark.
“Offensively, we just needed to get in a rhythm and I think we did some good things finally, were grinding the ball and running the ball more effectively,” Schriner said. “We forced them to bring so many people up front and our guys up front did a nice job.
“Eric had a great night running the ball, no doubt about that.”
O-G’s Jarrod Beach also had an interception in the game’s waning seconds.
Frankhouse threw for 191 yards on 16 of 24 attempts and also scrambled for 109 yards on 23 carries.
Both of his touchdown passes went to his all-Ohio wide receiver Isaiah Alsip in the first quarter.
Alsip caught a 12-yard strike in the end zone before weaving his way over the middle for a 59-yard strike a few minutes later at the 2:22 mark to put the Tigers up 14-7.
Dominic Pittman also drilled a 30-yard field goal with 58 seconds left in the first half.
Dick gave O-G credit for a good job jamming his receivers and solid coverage.
“On film when I watched, I was like, ‘I don’t know how they get away with running some of those coverages,'” he said. “With our athletes, I thought we’d take advantage of it.
“They did a great job of jamming us and making plays with the balls in the air.”
Galion 14 3 0 0 — 17
Ottawa-Glandorf 7 7 7 7 — 28
O-G — Heebsh 8 run (Alt kick)
GAL — Alsip 12 pass from Frankhouse (Pittman kick)
GAL — Alsip 59 pass from Frankhouse (Pittman kick)
O-G — Heebsh 17 run (Alt kick)
GAL — FG Pittman 30
O-G — Balbaugh 1 run (Alt kick)
O-G — Kuhlman 79 interception return (Alt kick)
First Downs 11 16
Rushes-yards 32-126 34-148
Passing Yards 117 191
Comp-Att-Int 10-17-2 16-24-4
Punts-Avg. 1-51.0 1-36.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 2-15 7-50
rushing — Ottawa-Glandorf, Heebsh 21-116, Beverly 2-15, Balbaugh 7-6, Recker 2-(minus-1). Galion, Frankhouse 23-109, Donaldson 4-19, O’Brien 4-13, Eckels 4-8, Staton 1-6, Alsip 2-1.
passing — Ottawa-Glandorf, Balbaugh 10-17-2-117. Galion, Frankhouse 16-24-4-191.
receiving — Ottawa-Glandorf, Beach 4-39, Blevins 1-30, Kaufman 4-23, Cantrell 1-18, Kuhlman 1-7. Galion, Alsip 8-105, Staton 4-42, Eckels 1-27, Donaldson 3-17.