Gus Ackley rushed for 180 yards and a touchdown, and the Upper Arlington High School football team rallied in the second half to beat visiting Gahanna 28-17 on Friday, Sept. 9.
The Golden Bears improved to 2-1 with their second consecutive win. The Lions, who were looking to start 3-0 for the first time since 2005, dropped to 2-1.
UA was held to 76 yards in the first half and trailed 10-7 at halftime, but the Bears made some adjustments on offense during the intermission and amassed 279 yards in the second half, including 267 on the ground.
"They were blitzing so heavily (in the first half), bringing eight or nine kids, to stop our passing game that we thought if we could hit some quick, short traps that we could bust through, and it worked right away," UA coach Mike Golden said. "Sometimes you get these great ideas and they stink, but this one worked. We really went back to the old wing-T, to the roots of it. It worked really, really well and we're fortunate because they're a fine football team. I didn't think we could hold them to 17 points."
Ryan McSheffery rushed for 44 yards on the first play from scrimmage in the second half and three plays later, Francis Wilamosky scored on a 21-yard run to give the Bears a 14-10 lead. Two possessions later, Ackley scored on a 65-yard run to make it 21-10 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.
Gahanna made it 21-17 on the ensuing possession when Geoffrey Helms scored on a 3-yard run on the final play of the third quarter.
However, on the following possession, UA capped an 80-yard, 10-play drive with a 3-yard run by McSheffery to make it 28-17 with 6:47 to play. Gahanna then turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing possession and the Bears ran out the final 5:01.
"It was penalties, it was turnovers It was not a good night of football," said Gahanna coach John Snoad, whose team turned the ball over four times, including three fumbles. "If you want to be good, you don't make those mistakes - not against good football teams. Mike runs a great program and (UA) is a good team. Anybody who thinks they weren't good because they were 1-1 is ridiculous."
Gahanna opened the scoring with a 46-yard field goal by Tyler Grassman with 4:25 left in the first quarter. The Bears responded with a touchdown on the ensuing possession, capping an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a 24-yard pass from quarterback David Smith to wide receiver Zach Powers.
Gahanna took a 10-7 lead with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Grassman to wide receiver Sante Cook with 7:30 left in the second quarter. The score capped a five-play, 72-yard drive.
Gahanna had three turnovers in the first half and UA had two, but none of the five turnovers led to a score.
Grassman finished 16 of 33 passing for 218 yards and a touchdown. McSheffery had 12 carries for 80 yards and a touchdown.
UA played without senior wide receiver and punter Frank Epitropoulos, an Ohio State recruit who had surgery Sept. 6 to repair ligament damage in his left thumb. He injured his thumb in the Bears' 29-27 loss to Dresden Tri-Valley in their opener on Aug. 26 but played in a 34-19 win over Springfield on Sept. 4.
GAHANNA 3 7 0 7 -- 17
UPPER ARLINGTON 7 0 14 7 -- 28
G--Grassman 46 FG
UA--Z.Powers 24 pass from Smith (Hamilton kick)
G--Cook 39 pass from Grassman (Grassman kick)
UA--Wilamosky 21 run (Hamilton kick)
UA--Ackley 65 run (Hamilton kick)
G--Helms 3 run (Grassman kick)
UA--McSheffery 3 run (Hamilton kick)