The Bears have now won two straight postseason games after starting the year 0-6.
OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio — It will go down as an instant classic, one no one could’ve predicted even a week ago.
The North Royalton Bears shocked the Olmsted Falls Bulldogs 33-27 in double overtime Friday night in WKYC.com’s High School Football Playoff Game of the Week, advancing to the second round of the Division II playoffs after entering the postseason 0-6. Michael Piazza’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Mathieu Vansteenlandt won it in the second extra period, set up by a Jacob Lipchek interception on the previous Bulldog possession.
LIST: Every 2nd round matchup featuring Northeast Ohio teams in this year’s high school football playoffs
The 22nd-seeded Bears pulled of a massive triple overtime upset of Amherst Steele last Friday to get here, but most observers gave them little chance against the more-established No. 6 Bulldogs. That narrative changed early on, however, after a 61-yard Zadan Abuhamdeh rushing touchdown gave them an early 7-0 lead.
Olmsted Falls fought back to lead 13-7, but Abuhamdeh scored again and his brother Omar added a 68-yard TD catch to put North Royalton on top 20-13 heading into halftime. The Bulldogs would tie it up at 20 following an 80-yard drive to start the third quarter, but neither team scored again for the rest of regulation, and a late missed field goal by Falls’ Drew Kanaba (his third missed kick of the night) eventually led to overtime.
In the first extra session, Piazza plunged into the end zone from one yard out before Rocco Conti scored his second touchdown to tie it at 27, and Olmsted Falls got the ball to start double overtime. But the Bulldogs came away empty after Lipchek picked off a Charlie Ciolek pass beyond the goal line, and not long after Piazza hit Vansteenlandt on a crossing route to give the Bears another stunner.
North Royalton will continue its improbable run next Friday on the road against third-seeded Avon Lake, who beat Wadsworth tonight 30-7. Olmsted Falls (4-3), meanwhile, has still not won a playoff game since 2016.
Re-listen to Dave “Dino” DeNatale’s entire call of the game in the player below, and scroll further for more final scores from across Northeast Ohio: