BELLVILLE — Michael Chillemi speaks softly and plays a big game.
The 6-2, 265-pound senior lineman had a second-quarter interception and he and his defensive teammates provided a lift to Clear Fork in its 20-6 regional quarterfinal win over Bryan here Saturday night.
“I was just firing out doing my pass rush and I got the ball,” on a screen pass by Golden Bears quarterback Nate Miller.
On the night in which defense dominated, Chillemi registered 9 tackles and a sack.
“Our big guys should sleep well tonight chasing their quarterback all night. Chillemi, Hunter Tollison, James Watts. Our sophomore Ashton Lyon did a great job with two picks,” Colts head coach Dave Carroll said. “Sometimes as a sophomore defensive back he got picked on.”
Lyon’s Pick 6 put the hosts ahead 14-6 with 8:45 left in the game. Tollison added 7 tackles, Trevon Trammell, Schaefer and Lyon with 5 each.
“They had a great defensive game plan. We couldn’t get our offense going. Turnovers, holding, off-sides,” Carroll said. The Colts were flagged 7 time for 75 yards.
Clear Fork (11-0) plays Lorain Clearview Saturday night in a Division IV regional semi-final at 7 p.m. at Wooster High School. Clearview knocked off Highland, 30-16, in the first round.
Miller’s 5-yard run put Bryan ahead 6-0 at the end of the first quarter. On the night the all-conference QB hit on just 11-of-29 passes for 76 yards, with three interceptions.
A 65-yard slant pass from Jared Schaefer to Caden Flynn put Clear Fork ahead 7-6 at halftime.
“In the second half we got some things going. Number 71 was tremendous. He is an all-state type of player,” Carroll said. “He’s a relentless kid.”
But it was the 20-yard Pick 6 by Lyon and Brady Tedrow’s 2-yard TD run that sealed the win.
“Some of our kids were not blocking very well, not coming off the ball. We’ll look a the film and figure it out,” Carroll said regarding the slow start offensively.
Schaefer wound up leading the team with 100 rushing on 20 carries. Trammell was held to 45 on 14 trips. Schaefer and Brennan South combined to throw for 100 yards on 5-of-17 passing.
The Colts limited Bryan to 24 net yards on 30 carries and 8 first downs. The Golden Bears finish the season at 7-4.
“We got a lot of stops,” Lyon said. “It felt really good.”
Chillemi said the Colts knew they had to pressure Miller in the pocket.
“We had an eye after the quarterback. Our intensity was to the max,” he said.
The strong line play this season comes as no surprise.
“We all came back. We know what we’re doing. We just wanted to play as well as we could,” Chillemi said.
Carroll said his squad knows Clearview.
“We’re more familiar with them actually than Highland. Playing Highland would have been nice, two local teams. We’ll show up and play and hopefully play a little better.”
Last year the Colts prevailed 44-0 in a first-round game against Clearview.
“Familiar foe, so that’ll be interesting.”