"The Gathering." That is the name of the play called by Gahanna Lincoln High School football coach John Snoad that resulted in Aaron Roberson returning a kickoff 90 yards with 6 minutes, 55 seconds remaining to lead the visiting Lions to a 24-14 victory over Pickerington North on Friday, Oct. 7.
That is the name of the play called by Gahanna Lincoln High School football coach John Snoad that resulted in Aaron Roberson returning a kickoff 90 yards with 6 minutes, 55 seconds remaining to lead the visiting Lions to a 24-14 victory over Pickerington North on Friday, Oct. 7.
A play where deception is key, Brandon Shirey fielded the kick and was immediately surrounded by two Gahanna players, including Roberson. When the three Lions dispersed, it was Roberson who had the ball and a clear path to the end zone.
"We just needed a big run, and I just tried to get as many yards as I could," Roberson said. "It just so happened that I took it all the way."
Gahanna improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
North quarterback Zach Olszewski had connected with tight end Jake Butt from 25 yards out to even the score at 14 leading to Roberson's return.
The Lions' defense also played a key role as it allowed only 99 yards in the first half and forced three turnovers.
"We had a great game," senior linebacker Jeff Baasch said. "Every time we take the field, we break on 'brothers' because we're a family out there. We have to rely on everybody and depend on each other."
The game was sealed when Roberson intercepted a Olszewski pass with less than two minutes remaining.
"Let's put it this way," Snoad said. "We've been in some big games against some top tier teams, and this time we finished the job. That's what we haven't done. We haven't played a complete game and these kids played lights out all game.
"They answered the bell tonight."
North coach Tom Phillips, whose team fell to 5-2 and 2-2, also stated the obvious in that Roberson's return was the difference.
"Special teams," Phillips said. "You know when we go down and tie it up and they get a kick return, I think the key to the whole game was that kick return for a touchdown."
Despite the loss, Phillips added that getting to the Division I playoffs still is within reach.
"These kids know that we have to go 8-2 right now," said Phillips, whose team entered the game ranked fourth in Division I, Region 3. "We have to go 8-2 to have an opportunity to extend our season and I have faith in our kids, our staff, that we can rekindle and go back to work Monday."
The Lions opened scoring when Tyler Grassman connected with Parker Cavendish for an 18-yard touchdown with 58 seconds remaining in the half. Grassman finished 21-for-31 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He also was intercepted twice.
Cavendish had three receptions for 51 yards. Julian Lowe had nine receptions for 80 yards. His 29-yard touchdown reception gave the Lions a 14-7 lead in the fourth quarter.
North tied the score at 7 with 2:23 seconds remaining in the third quarter when junior runningback Godwin Igwebuike ran for a 93-yard touchdown. Igwebuike finished with 141 yards on 15 carries.
GAHANNA 7 0 0 17 -- 24
PICKERINGTON NORTH 0 0 7 7 -- 14
G--Cavendish 18 pass from Grassman (Grassman kick)
P--Igwebuike 93 run (Monhollen kick)
G--Lowe 29 pass from Grassman (Grassman kick)
P--Butt 25 pass from Olszewski (Monhollen kick)
G--Roberson 90 kick return (Grassman kick)
G--Grassman 36 FG