Tyler Beam shook off a tender ankle to account for all five touchdowns for the Big Walnut High School football team in a 35-34 win over Olentangy Orange on Saturday, Sept. 24, in an OCC-Capital Division game played at Ohio Wesleyan’s Selby Field.
The senior quarterback did not play the previous week in a 21-14 win over Watkins Memorial because of his ankle injury, but he ran for 72 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries and was 15-for-26 passing for 110 yards.
Big Walnut improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Capital, while Orange dropped to 3-2 and 1-1.
Orange’s Bryan Schrader missed a 22-yard field goal wide right with 1 minute, 48 seconds remaining as Big Walnut held on for the victory.
The Golden Eagles trailed 28-14 and 34-21 before Beam connected with Seth Myers on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 10:50 left in the fourth quarter. Then, with 4:50 left, Beam scored on a 1-yard run and Corey Gibson added the extra point to make it 35-34.
“I tried to do whatever I could do to keep the guys up when we fell behind,” Beam said. “My ankle doesn’t hurt me now, but it might in the morning. It was a great game and we couldn’t stop believing.”
The comeback spoiled another strong performance by Orange senior Brandon Schoen. He ran for 102 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, scored on an 18-yard interception return and returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. But Big Walnut’s Joey Johnson blocked Schrader’s extra-point attempt after Schoen's touchdown on the kickoff return with 3:26 remaining in the third quarter.
“Special teams are a big part of the game,” Big Walnut coach Joe Weaver said. “That’s the difference between winning and losing a lot of games.”
The teams were tied at 14 after two quarters. Beam has a 13-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Kitchen and a 13-yard touchdown run. Schoen scored on a 10-yard run and Orange quarterback Kofi Hill connected with tight end Taylor Hardy on a 3-yard touchdown pass.
The Pioneers also had a 12-yard touchdown run by Hill in the third quarter.
“We expected a close game and they do some things in the passing game that can really hurt you,” Orange coach Brian Cross said. “We weren’t able to put the ball in the end zone on that last drive when we needed to.”
Johnson rushed for 57 yards on 11 carries for Big Walnut and Lucas Garcia added 43 yards on 12 rushes. Seth Wandling caught five passes for 30 yards and Myers had three receptions for 31 yards. Kitchen had four catches for 22 yards.
Michael Forbes had 69 yards rushing on 19 carries for Orange and Hill was 9-for-15 passing for 69 yards. Luke Wolford had three catches for 53 yards.
The game was scheduled to be played Sept. 23 at Big Walnut but was postponed because of poor field conditions.
OLENTANGY ORANGE 0 14 20 0 -- 34
BIG WALNUT 7 7 7 14 -- 35
BW--Kitchen 6 pass from T. Beam (Gibson kick)
OO--Schoen 10 run (Schrader kick)
BW--T. Beam 13 run (Gibson kick)
OO--Hardy 3 pass from K. Hill (Schrader kick)
OO--Schoen 18 interception return (Schrader kick)
OO--K. Hill 12 run (Schrader kick)
BW--T. Beam 6 run (Gibson kick)
OO--Schoen 87 kickoff return (kick blocked)
BW--Myers 16 pass from T. Beam (Gibson kick)
BW--T. Beam 1 run (Gibson kick)