Defining drive boosts Olentangy
It might have seemed like an eternity to the Olentangy Liberty High School football team.
For Olentangy's Andrew Horstman, it was an early season defining moment on a night when he and fellow senior quarterback Joey Longhino matched big throws and big runs.
"I was telling the line that you've got to dig deep and really find it within yourself and push through in the fourth quarter," said Horstman, whose team left Liberty with a 28-16 victory Aug. 31 and a 2-0 record. "After going through all that summer conditioning, we had to find it within ourselves to get it done."
In 12 plays, the Braves covered 80 yards and took about five minutes off the clock. Horstman accounted for 61 of those yards, 20 on the ground.
Luke Hartline's 1-yard run ended the drive and gave Olentangy a 21-10 lead with 11:16 to play.
On the other sideline, Longhino had been in this position a week earlier, rallying Liberty to a 43-21 win over Orange in the opener. He proceeded to lead a 13-play, 85-yard drive in which he scored on a 1-yard run to cut Olentangy's lead to 21-16 with 2:38 to play.
During the drive, Longhino completed seven of 10 passes for 63 yards. In the game, he was 26 of 36 for 350 yards and a 15-yard touchdown pass to Matt Kessler.
Longhino was perfect on his first eight passes.
"This summer, I worked with my receivers a lot more than I did the year before," said Longhino, who threw for 298 yards and rushed for 79 against Orange. "We got the timing down and it shows. A lot of our routes are crossing routes and timing routes and we had that going for us."
A 38-yard touchdown run by Horstman with 27 seconds left ensured his counterpart wouldn't be able to orchestrate another comeback. It was Horstman's longest run, and it secured the Braves' third consecutive win in the series.
Olentangy defeated Liberty 13-7 last season and 10-7 in 2010 when the teams both were members of the OCC-Cardinal Division. Olentangy has moved to the OCC-Capital and Liberty has moved to the OCC-Central.
Braves coach Ed Terwilliger wanted to make sure his defense didn't give up the "home run ball" to Longhino, whose longest pass was 61 yards to Dan Rhinehart during a drive that led to a 30-yard field goal by Sam Vucelich. That pulled Liberty within 14-10 with 4:12 left in the third quarter.
"Joey's an awfully good quarterback," Terwilliger said. "Most of the damage came on those crossing routes. He did a nice job of finding the open guy when things did break down."
Horstman, a 6-foot-4, 208-pounder who Terwilliger said runs "a legitimate 4.6" seconds in the 40-yard dash, gained 112 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns, including a 1-yard run in the second quarter. He added 184 yards passing with an interception.
"He's a very good athlete who runs very well," Liberty coach Steve Hale said. "I thought he threw the ball very well and he made some plays that allowed them to win the game."
Olentangy plays host to Orange on Sept. 21 in an OCC-Capital contest with a chance to sweep its district rivals.
"It's the best feeling in the world (to beat a rival) since we know all these guys," Horstman said. "It's like nothing else."