A dominating defensive effort helped propel the Reynoldsburg High School football team to a 20-10 victory over host Grove City on Friday, Sept. 16, in the OCC-Ohio Division opener for both teams.
“I have to give big love to our defense,” said Reynoldsburg coach Buddy White, whose team had four interceptions and recovered one fumble as it improved to 3-1 overall while Grove City fell to 1-3. “They gave us some great opportunities.”
Tyler Plummer, Emmanuel Beal, Tre Rowe and Chris Lee each had interceptions for the Raiders, and Lee also recovered a fumble.
Lee’s interception helped set up the game’s first score, a 75-yard pass from quarterback Jordan Aekins to Mykel Traylor-Bennett.
Among the many key plays turned in by the Raiders’ defense, few were bigger than those during a stand just before halftime.
Holding a 14-0 lead late in the first half, the Raiders stopped Grove City three times inside the 6-yard line, forcing the Dawgs to settle for an 18-yard field goal instead of going for a touchdown on fourth-and-1.
“Coach Bynum had the right defense called,” White said. “He did his homework. He knew what they were going to do and the kids executed at a very high level of intensity. We had the momentum and when we forced them to kick that field goal we kept the momentum.”
“We had to stop them,” Reynoldsburg defensive lineman LaVonne Gauthney said. “We just played out of our gut to get the stop. We didn’t want to have another repeat of Findlay (17-16 loss on Sept. 2). Three points at that point is a lot better than giving them seven.”
“We knew we had to get points,” Grove City coach Matt Jordan said about his decision to kick a field goal. “We were struggling all night. We had to settle for the three points because I wasn’t walking out of there without any points.”
Grove City closed the gap to 14-10 late in the third quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Jordan Fisher, but would get no closer.
The Raiders dominated time of possession in the final quarter behind the running of Kumar Collins, who finished with 111 yards on 28 carries.
“It means we can win in the OCC,” White said. “I consider this probably one of the toughest divisions in central Ohio or the state of Ohio. We beat a doggone good team on their home field. It gives us a lot of confidence. We know we can line up with the big boys in the Ohio Division.”
Fisher led the Dawgs with 101 yards rushing on 22 carries.
REYNOLDSBURG 0 14 0 6 -- 20
GROVE CITY 0 3 7 0 -- 10
R--Traylor-Bennett 75 pass from Aekins (Hedrick kick)
R--Collins 5 run (Hedrick kick)
GC--Nankivell 18 FG
GC--Fisher 4 run (Nankivell kick)
R--Hedrick 21 FG
R--Hedrick 30 FG