Known more in recent years for its potent spread offense than a swarming defense, the Granville High School football team might have slightly altered its reputation Friday, Sept. 16, against visiting Bexley in the MSL-Ohio Division opener for both teams.
The Blue Aces held Bexley to minus-9 yards for much of the second half and used a balanced offensive attack to cruise to a 49-20 win.
It was a 28-14 game at halftime, and after Henry Warren recovered a fumble by Granville’s Zach Lilly at the Blue Aces’ 24-yard line, the Lions (3-1) appeared poised to follow quarterback Jalen Robinette to another score. The Lions advanced to the 9 but no further, and on fourth-and-7 Granville safeties Steven Carpenter and Alex Marcum strung out the play long enough that Robinette couldn’t turn upfield.
Although Granville (3-1) advanced to Bexley’s 9 on the next drive and didn’t score, it did close the third quarter with the last of David Fraley’s three touchdown passes, this one 18 yards to Tucker McKenzie to make it 35-14.
Josh Link added touchdown runs of 16 and 11 yards in the fourth quarter as Granville rolled up 479 total yards and limited Bexley, which averaged 38 points per game in three victories to start the season, to 251. Robinette accounted for 89 -- 60 rushing and 29 passing. He ran for a 2-yard score and threw a 5-yard touchdown to Derek Cane, both in the second quarter.
“The coaches put together a really good defensive scheme and we executed well,” said Lilly, a receiver and cornerback who returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. “We knew it would be a lot of (Robinette) taking the ball and running. Our scheme was just having to contain him and let the flow get to him. It worked.”
Lilly’s return followed Robinette’s run that made 14-7.
“We take special teams pretty seriously and we have our seniors on that unit for a reason,” Granville coach J.R. Wait said. “Zack is one of the guys we’re trying to get the ball too all the time, whether it’s on offense or in the kicking game. He played well in all three phases.”
Fraley, making his first start of the year, threw touchdown passes to Ajay Alderman (14 yards) and Joey Comisford (11 yards) in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead. Fraley finished 22 of 26 for 220 yards.
Bexley answered with by far its biggest play, a 79-yard run by D.J. Jones to set up Robinette’s scoring run.
“We’re doing a lot better defensively,” Wait said. “We had to take (Robinette) away, but you’re never going to totally take him away. They have a nice scheme. They’ve simplified and get the ball in his hands. And we’re not quite where we want to be defensively, but we took a definite step in the right direction.”
Bexley, which routed Africentric 52-26 and Berne Union 35-8 to begin the season and needed a late drive to defeat Hamilton Township 26-21 in Week 3, finds itself sliding the other way.
“Once we got to the middle of the third quarter we had to deal with adversity and we didn’t respond very well,” Lions coach John Smith said. “Even after (Lilly’s) fumble we could have made it 28-21. We weren’t able to do that and that was pretty much all she wrote.”
BEXLEY 0 14 0 6 -- 20
GRANVILLE 14 14 7 14 -- 49
G--Alderman 14 pass from Fraley (Burkholder kick)
G--Comisford 11 pass from Fraley (Burkholder kick)
B--Robinette 2 run (Gingery kick)
G--Lilly 90 kickoff return (Burkholder kick)
B--Cane 5 pass from Robinette (Gingery kick)
G--Fraley 3 run (Burkholder kick)
G--McKenzie 18 pass from Fraley (Burkholder kick)
G--Link 16 run (Burkholder kick)
G--Link 11 run (Burkholder kick)
B--Morgan 65 run (run failed)