The Hilliard Darby High School football team continued its perfect start with a 42-0 victory over visiting Central Crossing on Friday, Sept. 23.
The Panthers improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Central Division, and the Comets fell to 0-5 and 0-2.
“Obviously, in a game like this you want to go in and execute properly offensively and defensively,” Darby coach John Santagata said. “You want to get off to a good start and maintain energy throughout the whole game.”
The Panthers operated smoothly from the outset, scoring on all four first-half possessions.
Hayden Van Kirk opened the scoring with a bruising 5-yard run with 5 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
On their next possession, Chase Longwell connected with Jarred Kelso for a 35-yard pass for a 14-0 lead. A 2-yard touchdown run by Dante Talley and Longwell’s 26-yard score gave the Panthers a 28-0 lead at halftime.
The Darby defense was equally impressive, allowing just 18 total yards and two first downs in the first half. For the game, Central Crossing had 61 yards and three first downs.
“I thought we did a nice job doing what we do in running the ball,” Santagata said. “I thought our defense came and played hard for four quarters.”
The second half was almost a mirror image of the first as Darby scored on it first two possessions.
Longwell scored his second touchdown from a yard out to close a 64-yard drive that took more than eight minutes.
Talley, who finished as the game’s leading rusher with 101 yards, closed the scoring with a 48-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
“Our kids do not take anybody for granted because our coaches don’t,” Santagata said. “It is stressed all week. It doesn’t matter who we are preparing for and we wouldn’t do it any other way. Regardless of who we play, you have to bring that energy and practice playing with intensity for fourth quarters no matter who you play.”
Darby has outscored its first five opponents 198-39, and the shutout was its first since a 35-0 victory over Thomas Worthington in the eighth game last season.
“I told (Santagata) they’ll vie for the league title this year,” Central Crossing coach Chris Harr said. “He has them rocking and rolling. They are very good at what they do. Simple, but they execute it very well.”
CENTRAL CROSSING 0 0 0 0 -- 0
HILLIARD DARBY 14 14 7 7 -- 42
HD--Van Kirk 5 run (Kaplan kick)
HD--Kelso 35 pass from Longwell (Kaplan kick)
HD--Talley 2 run (Kaplan kick)
HD--Longwell 26 run (Kaplan kick)
HD--Longwell 1 run (Kaplan kick)
HD--Talley 48 run (Kaplan kick)