The New Albany High School football team had no answer for Brandon Schoen, who led host Olentangy Orange to a 32-7 win over the Eagles on Friday, Sept. 30.
Schoen rushed 19 times for 251 yards and four touchdowns, including a 76-yarder with 1 minute, 9 seconds left in the third quarter that pushed the lead to 26-7 after the ensuing extra point.
“We talked about how important this was to get a win this week to keep our season going and get to the playoffs,” said Schoen, whose team improved to 4-2 overall at 2-1 in the OCC-Capital Division. “It was a must win for us.”
The long touchdown run followed an Orange possession in which the offense drove 80 yards in 14 plays. Schoen capped that drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 18-7 with 5:50 left in the third quarter.
It was 12-7 at halftime, but with the Pioneers already having rushed for 168 yards, Orange coach Brian Cross felt like his team had the upper hand against the Eagles, who dropped to 4-2 and 2-1.
“It was 12-7 at the half, but it may not have been that close when you looked at the stats,” Cross said. “We played pretty well in the first half. We just didn't put a lot of points on the board. In the second half that opening drive was really big for us. You could just see in our kids' eyes that tonight we weren't going to have that second-half letdown.”
Schoen set the tone early with a 46-yard touchdown run on Orange's third offensive play. A mishandled snap left it 6-0 Orange with 9:36 to go in the first quarter. He also set up an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kofi Hill to Taylor Hardy that made it 32-7 with 9:36 left in the game. Schoen had a 42-yard run that advanced the ball from midfield down to the 8-yard line.
New Albany's lone first-half score came as the result of an 18-play, 84-yard drive. Dan Brittan scored on a 7-yard run and the extra point put New Albany ahead 7-6. Orange answered with a drive that led to Schoen's second touchdown run, which made it 12-7.
Brittan was the bright spot for New Albany, running 15 times for 97 yards.
Orange rushed 41 times for 373 yards and New Albany gained 142 yards on the ground on 39 carries. Orange also got a strong performance from Michael Forbes, who rushed 19 times for 82 yards.
“We just didn't do a great job tackling, and when you don't do a great job tackling (Schoen) it’s going to be a long night,” New Albany coach Mark Mueller said. “We just couldn't get our offense on the field. They had a couple of long drives that took a bunch of time off the clock.”
NEW ALBANY 0 7 0 0 – 7
OLENTANGY ORANGE 6 6 21 6 – 32
OO--Schoen 46 run (kick failed)
NA--Brittan 7 run (Gammill kick)
OO--Schoen 1 run (pass failed)
OO--Schoen 3 run (Hopkins kick)
OO--Schoen 76 run (Hopkins kick)
OO--Hardy 8 pass from Hill (kick blocked)