SHADYSIDE - Shadyside's fast-and-furious comeback came up one point short Friday night, and so ended an undefeated season and an 10-game home winning streak in first-round OHSAA playoff encounters.
The fourth-seeded Tigers (10-1) dropped a heartbreaking, 19-18, decision to No. 5 Berlin Center Western Reserve (9-2) in a Division VI, Region 21 quarterfinal tournament on the Fleming Field turf.
''We had our chance,'' a teary-eyed Shadyside coach Mark Holenka said outside a saddened locker room. ''When you fall behind the 8- ball - the kids still fought until the end.
Shadyside’s Ian Baker stiff arms a Western Reserve defender.
That last drive - the big holding call. They gave everything they could.''
Trailing 19-3 entering the final quarter, Shadyside put together a pair of lightning-quick touchdown drives to pull to within 19-16 with 6:08 remaining to play.
Senior quarterback Chase Kinemond fired a pair of scoring strikes to classmate Ian Baker that covered 55 yards on the Tigers' first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter. Forced to go for 2 because of the 10-point difference, the pass failed.
A holding penalty on the Blue Devils and a big defensive play by Scott Hammond forced the visitors to punt.
Starting at its 41, Shadyside needed five plays to reach the end zone as Kinemond found sophomore Austin Dorris open down the middle of the field from 46 yards out. Cody Hudson's PAT made it 19-16. A key 11-yard pass from Kinemond to Hudson on fourth-and-8 kept the drive alive.
Just when the Tigers faithful were brought to their feet, they were quickly seated when Western Reserve's do-everything Tim Cooper broke loose for a 58-yard jaunt that took the ball to the Shadyside 1.
A sneak attempt by quarterback Nick Allison failed on first down, but he broke the plane on the next attempt. However, an aiding-the-quarterback infraction against the Blue Devils moved them back 5 yards. Cooper fumbled on the next carry and Shadyside's Chris Littell grabbed it out of midair at the Tigers 5.
Kinemond connected with Hudson for 16 yards on first down and, after two incompletions, the same duo teamed for 10 on third-and-10 to move the chains. Three straight unsuccessful plays set up a fourth-and-9, but Kinemond was on target to Hammond for 14 yards to the Tigers 49.
Kinemond then rifled a 21-yard strike to Hammond down the middle of the field and the Tigers were in business at the Western Reserve 30. Kinemond and Hudson clicked again, this time for 11 yards as the ball was at the 19.
Kinemond rolled right on second-and-10 and found Baker at the 4 for an apparent first-and-goal, but a holding call 7 yards deep in the end zone moved the Tigers back to their 37 with 1:17 on the clock.
Kinemond and Hudson once again teamed for 10 yards, but a fourth-down pass for Dorris in the end zone fell to the turf.
The Tigers had all three of their first downs left, but opted not to take one prior to the final play.
Shadyside eventually used those stoppages in play to force the Blue Devils into a fourth-and-long in the waning seconds, but Allison took the snap from center and pitched back to Cooper who eluded Shadyside defenders until Kinemond knocked him out of the end zone for a safety with 5.7 showing, making it 19-18. Alex Quinn fair caught the ensuing free kick to save precious seconds, but Cooper picked off Kinemond's hail mary as time expired.
''I never want to have to come here and play again,'' an elated Western Reserve coach Andrew Hake said. ''That was too much for me.
''(Shadyside) is a great Division VI program. We had a chance to put things away, but to their credit, they kept coming back.''
The Blue Devils grabbed the early lead as Cooper fielded the opening kickoff at his 5. Fifteen seconds later, Cooper was in the end zone following a 95-yard runback. Parker Clegg's PAT made it 7-0.
After it was 14-0 Shadyside got on the scoreboard before the quarter ended as Hudson booted a 23-yard field goal for a 13-3 score.
The setback came in the 51st game for the Tigers' senior class, which included a state championship appearance as sophomores.
''That's a great class. There is just so much heart and so much determination with those kids. They're good athletes. They love the game and they live and die by it. In the weight room, they love each other.
''It's the group that I started with four years ago, and it's the toughest one to say goodbye to because they're the first to be here four years with me.''
Kinemond finished his career with a 17-for-36 outing for 311 yards and the two touchdowns. Hudson landed nine catches for 114 yards, while Dorris caught four for 102. Hammond had a pair of key snags.