The Crimson Flashes have a flair for the dramatic at home.
A week after losing on a two-point conversion to Bellevue in overtime, the Flashes held off a late Norwalk charge in a 33-28 Northern Ohio League win Friday night to improve to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the NOL.
Norwalk fell to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the NOL.
"They made me a little nervous again towards the end," Willard coach Mike Strance said. "The kids were down after last week's game and it took them a while to respond to some things at practice this week.
"That first half, Norwalk goes in with a halftime lead and something shook the kids. They want to stay in that NOL race and here we are with a month left right where we want to be."
The Flashes rode Eric Devlin in the second half, and the senior essentially carried Willard to the win. After the Flashes were held to 60 yards in the first half as a team, Devlin alone picked up 135 yards and two touchdowns on 13 attempts in the second half.
He finished with four touchdowns on 147 yards on 17 attempts for the game and caught seven passes for 114 yards -- including five catches for 89 yards in the second half.
Willard went 51 yards in nine plays to start the second half, capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Abraham Craven at the 9:03 mark of the third quarter. Alec Sickel's PAT gave Willard its first lead at 19-15, and the Flashes did not trail again.
After a Norwalk punt, Willard marched 87 yards with relative ease, marching six plays that was capped with a 7-yard run by Devlin, who picked up 68 yards on the drive. The PAT made it a 26-15 lead.
Norwalk looked to get back in it, driving down inside the Willard 15. However, on third-and-three at the Willard 12, receiver Trevor Ishee was thrown for a three-yard loss on a screen pass. On fourth down, a Jake Fetherolf pass fell incomplete to turn the ball over on downs with just over 10 minutes left.
It took Willard eight plays to march 85 yards to go up 33-15. Devlin did it again, catching a 23-yard pass and bulling over Norwalk defenders on a 14-yard scoring run with 8:03 left.
"We made some mistakes early in the second half and offensively we just didn't get anything going," Norwalk coach Chris MacFarland said. "We came out flat. We started to find ourselves in the middle of the fourth quarter, but we can't give that many points up and expect to scratch back."
Norwalk started to show some life, driving 65 yards in 11 plays, capped by a one-yard run by Fetherolf with 5:23 left. The kick failed, leaving the margin at 33-21.
After forcing a punt, the Truckers put together and impressive 10-play, 95-yard scoring drive capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass from Fetherolf to Damius Peacock with 2:27 left to pull within 33-28.
The Truckers couldn't recover the ensuing onsides kick, and Devlin picked up 22 yards on the first play from scrimmage. However, he stepped out of bounds, and the Trucker defense forced a punt despite having no timeouts.
Norwalk got the ball back with one last chance from their 35 with 35 seconds left, but Fetherolf was intercepted on the first play to end the game.
"I'm proud of the kids fighting, there is no quit in them," MacFarland said. "We have to take care of the mistakes though. Their simple mistakes we expect our kids and coaches to make, and we have to make sure we take care of that."
Kolin Phillips finished 15-of-24 passing for 204 yards for Willard while Cam Cok picked up 58 yards rushing on 13 attempts.
For Norwalk, Fetherolf was 17-of-30 for 221 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Michael Finch caught five passes for 67 yards while Nathan Ewell caught three passes for 25 yards. Tyler Sparks caught a 23-yard touchown for his lone catch in the first half.
Nick Davis added 75 yards rushing on 13 attempts with a score while Dustin Crabtree added 53 yards on 14 attempts.
Despite the second half turnaround, Strance was just relieved to get out with the win.
"We knew Norwalk was a tough team, and they showed it," he said. "Both teams played hard for 48 minutes and everyone got their money's worth, no doubt about it."
Norwalk 7 8 0 13 -- 28
Willard 0 12 14 7 -- 33
N--Tyler Sparks 23 pass from Jake Fetherolf (Michael Finch kick)
W--Eric Devlin 1 run (kick failed)
W--Devlin 9 run (run failed)
N--Nick Davis 4 run (Crabtree run)
W--Abraham Craven 1 run (Alec Sickel kick)
W--Devlin 7 run (Sickel kick)
W--Devlin 14 run (Sickel kick)
N--Fetherolf 1 run (kick failed)
N--Damius Peacock 25 pass from Fetherolf (kick)
First downs 23 22
Rushes-yards 34-153 36-204
Passing yards 221 204
Att-comp-int 30-17-2 24-15-0
Penalties-yards 4-30 9-55
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-2
Norwalk--Nick Davis 13-75, Dustin Crabtree 14-53, Fetherolf 3-1; Willard--Eric Devlin 17-147, Cam Cok 13-58, Abraham Craven 4-10, Kolin Phillips 2-6.
Norwalk--Jake Fetherolf 17-30-221-2-2; Willard--Kolin Phillips 15-24-204-0-0
Norwalk--Trevor Ishee 3-18, Michael Finch 5-67, Nathan Ewell 3-35, Damius Peacock 1-25, Chianti Ghalson 1-15; Willard--Eric Devlin 7-114, Jalen Douglas 2-22, Cam Cok 3-24.
Columbian 41, Bellevue 16
At Tiffin, the Redmen fell to the Tornadoes in a Northern Ohio League game, 41-16.
The Redmen scored 16 points, more than Columbian allowed in the last two weeks combined.
Bellevue falls to 2-4, 1-2 NOL after last week's overtime win versus Willard. The Redmen's four losses -- to Clear Fork, Clyde, Shelby and Columbian -- came at the hands of teams who are a combined 21-3.
The Redmen play winless Fostoria (0-6, 0-3 NOL) next Friday in Fostoria. Columbian (5-1, 3-0 NOL) advances to Shelby (5-1, 3-0 NOL).