Antwerp junior Carson Altimus throws a pass during Friday night's 35-34 come from behind victory over Delphos Jefferson in a OHSAA Division VII Regional matchup. (Photo/Sarah Harris)

ANTWERP – Junior quarterback Carson Altimus ran for three touchdowns and threw for another in Friday night’s Division VII, Region 26 quarterfinal contest at Archer Field.

But his biggest play was worth only two points, coming with 49 seconds remaining as he dodged and dove past Delphos Jefferson defenders to score a two-point conversion that lifted Antwerp to a 35-34 victory in a thrilling high school football game.

Trailing 34-27 with 2:08 remaining and taking over at midfield following a Delphos Jefferson turnover, Altimus led the Archers on the game-winning drive.

A pair of completions from Altimus to Camden Fuller moved the Antwerp offense to the Delphos Jefferson 39 before the Archer signal caller found Parker Moore for 13-yards to the Wildcat 26.

Another toss from Altimus to Fuller moved the blue and white to the 13-yard line with 1:04 remaining. After an incomplete pass, Altimus hooked up with Reid Lichty for two yards to the Delphos Jefferson 11.

On the next play, the junior quarterback connected with Landon Brewer for an 11-yard touchdown pass that pulled the Archers within 34-33 at the 49 second mark.

From there, it was a no-brainer to go for two according to Antwerp mentor Jason Hale.

“There was no thought on anything else,” commented Hale. “We wanted to go for the win and the kids went out and executed. This is just a tremendous feeling right now.”

Altimus wasn’t going to be denied, finding his way into the endzone to give the Archers the victory and improve Antwerp’s record to 12-0 on the season.

“He is a gamer,” noted Hale. “He has such a way about him and he keeps his composure no matter what happens. Carson is our leader and he has such a will to win.”

The contest got off to an unusual start for the Archers, who entered the game with 11 straight touchdowns in their first possession of each game.

However, Delphos Jefferson’s Braylon Scalf picked off an Altimus pass on the game’s first drive to break that streak and give the Wildcats possession at their own 29-yard line.

The visitors then marched 71-yards in seven plays for the game’s first points, capping the drive with a 28-yard scamper for a score by Trent Teman as the Wildcats took a 7-0 advantage at the 6:01 mark of the opening period.

Antwerp quickly answered, though, putting together a ten-play possession of its own that covered 83-yards on the way to a game-tying score.

Altimus capped the drive with a 45-yard touchdown run that featured a key Wildcat missed tackle before he reversed directions and went virtually untouched the rest of the way for the score. Kendric Robinson added the extra point kick for a 7-7 tie at the end of one period.

The Archers answered with a go-ahead score midway through the second stanza.

Starting at its own seven, Antwerp drove 93-yards in ten plays to take its first lead of the game. Reid Lichty capped the possession with a run from a dozen yards out as the Archers grabbed a 13-7 advantage with 2:13 left in the first half.

Delphos Jefferson then responded for a score of its just before halftime.

The Wildcats knotted the game at 13-13 with 12 seconds on the clock as Teman hooked up with Scalf for a 24-yard scoring strike to answer the Archer score.

Opening the second half, Delphos Jefferson appeared to take the momentum again as the Wildcats took the opening possession and drove 61-yards over a dozen plays in taking the lead.

Teman capped the drive with a one-yard plunge to put Delphos Jefferson on top 20-13 with 7:06 left in the third quarter.

“Both teams moved the ball offensively,” Hale stated. “It was a battle of two good teams and we were able to come up with a couple of big plays there late in the game. I am just so proud of these kids and their never say die attitude.”

Antwerp answered later in the period as Altimus scooted 14 yards for a score to cap a seven-play, 59-yard scoring drive that evened the contest at 20-20 with 2:14 left.

The Archers scored again on the first play of the fourth quarter when Altimus rumbled 23-yards for a score that put the blue and white on top 27-20 at the 11:48 mark.

Delphos Jefferson responded with an 11-play, 88-yard touchdown drive of its own that was capped by a one-yard Teman plunge in evening the contest at 27-27.

Following an Antwerp penalty, Scalf recovered the Delphos Jefferson onside kick to give the Wildcats possession at the Archer 29.

A nine-yard run by Teman started the drive before Andrew Miller picked up four to the Archer 16. Three plays later, Teman ran the final dozen yards for a touchdown that put Delphos Jefferson on top 34-27 with 4:53 left.

Both teams committed a turnover on their next possession, setting up the final Archer drive for the victory.

The two teams combined for 831 yards of total offense, including 618 rushing yards overall as Delphos Jefferson totaled 329 rushing yards on 59 carries while Antwerp posted 289 yards over 27 tries. The Archers added 146 passing yards in ending the contest with 435 yards of total offense compared to 396 for the Wildcats.

Teman finished six of ten passing for 67 yards while also running for 151 yards over 28 carries. Miller added 128 yards on 23 attempts and Cole Hoersten posted 50 yards on ten tries.

Cody Bailey posted three catches for Delphos Jefferson covering 23 yards and Scalf had a pair of receptions for 42 yards.

Altimus ended the night with 158 yards on 17 attempts and Lichty posted 131 yards over ten carries for the Archers. The Archer signal caller also was 22 of 34 through the air for 146 yards.

Moore and Lichty both totaled seven receptions for Antwerp while Brewer and Fuller picked up four apiece.

Antwerp moves on to play Gibsonburg Saturday night in Division VII, Region 26 semifinal action at a site to be determined. Delphos Jefferson closes its season with an overall record of 7-5.