For the second time in as many games, the Thomas Worthington High School football team's attempt at a rally came up just short as Olentangy Liberty held on for a 26-20 victory over the Cardinals on Friday.

"We're very pleased with our kids' effort tonight," said Liberty coach Steve Hale, whose team improved to 1-1. "We played great in key situations and handled adversity well. We just hung in there, kept fighting against a very talented Thomas Worthington team."

It didn't come easy for Hale's team, fighting off the resurgent Cardinals who managed to get the ball back in every way late in the game. With his team trailing by two scores,

Cardinals junior quarterback Sam Bohon engineered an 11-play, 77-yard drive to pull it within six points with just under three minutes remaining. The ensuing onside kick was bobbled, and ended up in the hands of Thomas senior linebacker John Shelton.

Bohon connected with junior tailback Jake Sharick on third-and-10 to keep the drive alive, but could not find wideout Dustin Armstrong on fourth-and-4 at the Liberty 31 on a pass that would have moved the chains.

The Cardinals had one last chance when the Patriots mishandled the kneel-down. Thomas recovered the fumble but one final pass from Bohon in the closing seconds fell incomplete.

"I can't be more proud of our guys for hanging in there and really having a chance a couple different times when it looked like we were dead," said Thomas coach Scott Gordon, whose team lost in similar fashion to Olentangy 26-21 in the opener Aug. 22. "Too many mistakes and guys got fatigued out there. Overall, I think we just ran out of gas. I'm just pleased of the way we didn't give up."

It was a big game for Liberty running back Clay Lust, who rushed for 155 yards on 22 carries and scored twice.

"Our offensive line did a great job, they ran some traps, pulled hard, hit some guys hard, they let me loose and I ran free," said Lust, who had runs of 56 and 48 yards. "Coach told me I was going to get the ball a little bit more with the rain, so I was ready and had a good time."

The biggest play of the game came halfway through the fourth quarter. Trailing by seven with just more than six minutes remaining, Bohon connected with Armstrong on a quick screen. Closing quickly, the Patriots' Cameron Whitner took the ball from Armstrong, returning it 25 yards to put Liberty up two scores.

"I just went for the strip and got the ball," Whitner said. "It happened really fast. It was definitely a big play, we were wild on the sidelines after that play."
Bohon finished 27-for-59 for 325 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.