SCIOTOVILLE — It was fitting that Corbin Hazen answered questions from the media in the end zone.
He had, after all, been spending a lot of Saturday’s game there.
The Danville sophomore caught eight passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 55-27 victory over Portsmouth Sciotoville East in the OHSAA Division VII regional quarterfinals.
Hazen didn’t have an explanation for his big game. He just knew he was left wide open. A lot.
“We were switching up the receivers. It took everybody,” Hazen said. “It’s awesome. These are great memories.”
Hazen had a lot of help from his quarterback, Skyler Durbin, who threw for 224 yards on 16-of-27 passing. Durbin also rushed for 162 yards on 25 carries, which kept the Tartan defense honest throughout Saturday’s game.
“I know my line is going to open up holes for me, and give me lanes in which to run,” Durbin said. “I had a lot of protection on passes, too.”
Danville’s defense contained Sciotoville’s two biggest weapons, Akin Brown and Ethan Gifford. Brown, who gained 1,273 yards during the regular season, was limited to 44 yards on 16 carries. Gifford managed five catches for 107 yards, but was shut out in the first half.
“We made sure there wasn’t a lot of separation from him,” Danville coach Ed Honabarger said. “We kept contact with him when he was running. So they started nickel-and-diming us. We were going to give them that. We weren’t going to allow big plays.”
The Tartans had been undefeated going into Saturday’s game, with their most impressive win saved for last: A 32-26 win over Portsmouth Notre Dame, the only team with a winning season on the schedule.
The Tartans couldn’t even get out of their own way on Saturday.
Sciotoville, which averaged over 60 yards in penalties per game this season, had 13 flags thrown against them for a whopping 175 yards. Nine of those penalties were either personal fouls or unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
The Blue Devils, in the meantime, went into Saturday on a five-game winning streak, taking each by an average 24-point margin.
They scored quickly on their first drive with Hazen’s first touchdown, a 55-yard play on a streak up the middle off a pass from Durbin.
Sciotoville tied the game early in the second quarter when quarterback Drew Lowe threw to Ethan Carver on a fourth-and-goal.
Durbin gave Danville (8-3) the lead back on a two-yard sneak. He and Hazen hooked up again on a 14-yard touchdown late in the second quarter to give the Devils a 20-7 halftime lead.
“He catches the ball and keeps his legs driving,” Honabarger said of Hazen. “They had a lot of problems tackling him.”
“Corbin’s a great receiver,” Durbin said. “I can always trust him to go up and get the ball.”
Durbin scored his second touchdown on the first drive of the second half on a nineyard run to make it 26-7.
Sciotoville scored on a fiveyard throw from Lowe to Gifford. The Tartans then tried an onside kick, which was recovered by the Blue Devils. On the next play, Durbin threw a bomb to Hazen who scored to give Danville a 34-13 lead.
The Devils’ Chris Greenawalt scored three times in the fourth quarter. He caught a touchdown pass early in the period, then rushed for two more.
Saturday’s game was in an ancient home stadium for Sciotoville East, in which the bleachers couldn’t contain all the fans, the field had more mud than actual grass, the players didn’t have a bench to sit on and the cheerleaders had to lead cheers from behind the fans. Danville’s next venue, however, couldn’t be more different, as the team will face Harvest Prep at the spacious White Field in Newark on Saturday at 7 p.m. Harvest Prep (8-3) won at Shadyside on a last-second Hail Mary.