Jimmy Gammill came through in the clutch for the New Albany High School football team, kicking a 45-yard field goal with 8 seconds remaining, to lift the Eagles over host Big Walnut 34-31 in an OCC-Capital Division game on Friday, Oct. 14.
“The coaches came up to me and asked me where I would feel comfortable kicking from,” said Gammill, whose team improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the OCC-Capital Division. “I told them to just put the ball down and I'll make it.”
Big Walnut, which fell to 6-2 and 4-1, had tied the game at 31 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Alex Clark with 1 minute, 34 seconds left. New Albany drove 29 yards in eight plays to set up the game-winning kick. Carson Tunney had three catches on the drive for 31 yards.
The kick thwarted a second-half comeback by Big Walnut, which had trailed 24-3 at halftime after New Albany scored two touchdowns in the final 17 seconds of the second quarter.
Big Walnut’s Corey Gibson kicked a 21-yard field goal to make it 10-3 with 28 seconds left before halftime, but New Albany's Adam Bodrick returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown as the Eagles went ahead 17-3.
New Albany's Tyrell Howard then recovered the kickoff at Big Walnut's 24-yard line, and Eagles quarterback Zach Tomi found Darron Lee for a 5-yard touchdown pass two plays later.
Big Walnut seized momentum in the second half with a strong run defense and timely passing from quarterback Tyler Beam, however. Beam threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Seth Wandling with 2:58 left in the third quarter to make it 24-10. Wandling had a 49-yard catch on the drive.
Big Walnut scored three times in the fourth quarter, including 1-yard scoring runs from Beam and Alex Clark.
Big Walnut's defense also played well in the second half, limiting New Albany to 27 yards rushing in after the break — except for one play.
That play was an 89-yard touchdown run by Lee, who made his first start at receiver. Lee started left on a wingback sweep and cut back to the right into open field for a score that put New Albany ahead 31-17.
“I knew we were in for a game,” New Albany coach Mark Mueller said. “We weren’t running the ball consistently. Against a team like Big Walnut, you're not going to be able to make big plays against them all the time. Our players made plays when they needed to.”
New Albany finished with 147 yards on the ground, led by Lee. Tomi was 9-for-12 passing for 112 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Collins led New Albany in receiving with four catches for 52 yards.
Beam led Big Walnut with 16 rushes for 98 yards. He also was 9-for-13 passing for 157 yards and a touchdown. Garcia had 18 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown.
“They're a heck of a football team,” Big Walnut coach Joe Weaver said. “We made some adjustments in the second half. The kids kept playing, kept fighting.”
NEW ALBANY 0 24 0 10 -- 34
BIG WALNUT 0 3 7 21 -- 31
NA--Gammill 26 FG
NA--Bodrick 13 pass from Tomi (Gammill kick)
BW--Gibson 21 FG
NA--Bodrick 80 kickoff return (Gammill kick)
NA--Lee 5 pass from Tomi (Gammill kick)
BW--Wandling 6 pass from Beam (Gibson kick)
BW--Garcia 4 run (Gibson kick)
NA-Lee 89 run (Gammill kick)
BW--Beam 1 run (Gibson kick)
BW--Clark 1 run (Gibson kick)
NA--Gammill 45 FG