Future Ohio State Buckeye Nate Oliver with the ball on the opening kickoff.
Future Ohio State Buckeye Boom Herron started the game out by playing linebacker on defense.
Senior Frank Edmonds helped the Eagles move the ball down the field on the opening drive.
The Raider defense contained Edmonds for the most part on the opening drive.
Senior Paul Adler got the carry on this play.
But the Eagles drive stalled out and they had to settle for this 37-yard field goal by Ben Rios to give St. Edward the early 3-0 lead with 8:03 left in the initial period.
Sidney Glover, who's verbally committed to Indiana, ends up with the football as the Raiders try a reverse of sorts on their opening kickoff return.
Oliver is a captain and leader of their defense.
Junior OLB Justin Staples should be one of the state's top defensive recruits next season.
Linebacker Mike Spooner (#47) should be another top defensive prospect next season.
Junior Alex Sterba has been under center all season long. Sterba was 8 of 18 for 94 yards with one INT.
Herron ran the ball 18 times for 63 yards.
The Eagle defense held the Raiders to 74 yards rushing and just 22 yards passing.
Oliver's pressure on Harding quarterback Matt Straniak forced an interception on this play.
Junior Branden Williams returned the interception inside Harding's 10 yard line.
And when Williams got the call on an outside run around right end on this play...
...his touchdown-scoring effort was wiped out by an illegal shift penalty.
A sack of Sterba on the following play by David Harsch pushed a Ben Rios field goal attempt beyond 40 yards and he was able to convert it, squandering away a golden scoring opportunity.
But Harding and Herron kept plugging away on the ground.
Every now-and-then Straniak would attepmt a pass to keep the defense honest. He was 6 of 14 for 22 yards in the game with two INTs.
But Harding hung their hat, er, helmet on their defense all game long.
Adler carried three times and netted a negative 3 yards.
Herron makes Sterba cough up the ball on when he nailed him in the backfield for a quarterback sack on this play. St. Ed's recovered the fumble but had to punt the ball away. That's when disaster struck for the Eagles.
A errant snap on the punt forced St. Ed's punter to chase after the ball and when he caught up with the loose pigskin he was tackled on the eight where Harding took over. And on the very first play with Glover at QB in the shotgun formation...
He carried the ball around the left end...
...tip-toeing into the front corner of the endzone for the touchdown to give the Raiders a 7-3 second-quarter lead.
Glover celebrates the go-ahead score with Rucker.
Both teams just battled for field position for much of the game it seemed. On this play Herron is able to go by his future teammate with the help of his blocker...
...and on this play Oliver is able to take Herron down to the ground as Diauntae Morrow assists Oliver on the tackle.
Harding's defense held the Eagles to 112 yards rushing and 94 yards passing.
Edmonds finished with 110 yards on 22 carries but many of those yards came late in the game on a couple of big runs.
Oliver rushed for 32 yards on 7 carries.
Glover, who played like the game's MVP, stopped Oliver on this play. Glover had a few tremendous, thumping hits during the game from his safety position.
St. Ed's passing game got it going for a brief moment near the end of the first half ...
...when Sterba connected with Hubbard on a short completion...
...who turned it into a 31-yard gain.
But again the Eagles could not advance the ball enough to get points on the board before half and trailed 7-3 at the intermission.
The second half was nearly an exclusive ground battle with Herron getting the bulk of the carries for the Raiders...
...and Edmonds getting the majority of rushing attempts for St. Edward.
Edmonds ripped off a couple of long runs late in the fourth quarter that gave his team a chance to win the game.
But on fourth-and-goal at the Harding 10, Sterba hit Hubbard on a slant pass that was stopped dead by Glover and his friends around the five yard line with 3:14 left in the game.
But an interception by senior Joe Davis a few plays later gave the Eagles another chance at the Raider 17. And they went right back to Edmonds on the ground.
But on a fourth-and-three attempt, Edmonds was stopped about two yards short of the first down and the game was all but over.
Harding ran the clock out to get the victory and advance to the regional finals against Mentor.
The season of high expectations came crashing to an abrupt end for St. Edward.