On a night when the offenses for the Hilliard Darby High School football team and visiting Thomas Worthington struggled, Panthers linebacker Cameron Kohl found his way into the end zone.
Kohl intercepted a pass by Cardinals quarterback Jalen Wells and returned 24 yards for a touchdown with 2 minutes, 9 seconds remaining, giving the Panthers a 14-7 victory in an OCC-Central Division game on Friday, Oct. 14.
“I knew we had to score somehow and that was my chance,” Kohl said. “I saw the ball in the air and I just had to go for it.”
Darby improved to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Central, while Thomas fell to 2-6 and 1-4.
The defensive touchdown was fitting given that the contest was a defensive struggle most of the night. The first five possessions of the game were three-and-out, and the teams combined for just one first down and 23 yards in the first quarter.
Thomas finished with 192 total yards and Darby finished with 137.
“Our defense has been solid all year, especially against the run,” Thomas coach Scott Gordon said. “We felt like we could throw a good defensive effort against them. We played well enough to win.”
Darby’s first touchdown was set up by a roughing-the-passer penalty, which gave the Panthers the ball at the Cardinals’ 21, and a pass interference call that gave them a first down at the Cardinals’ 16. Darby running back Dante Talley scored on a 3-yard run with 5:49 left in the first half.
Thomas’ touchdown came on a 1-yard pass from Wells to running back Tony Harvard with 12 seconds left in the first half. The score, which was set up by a 24-yard pass from Wells to Nana Kyeremeh to the Darby 4, came after the Cardinals’ Jeremy Niklos recovered a fumbled punt return by Jarrod Kelso at the Panthers’ 31.
“I saw on film that Thomas Worthington had a lot of athletes and that their defensive line was extremely strong,” Darby coach John Santagata said. “We knew going in that this wasn’t going to be easy, but I was proud of the way our defense played. It helped us win that football game.”
THOMAS WORTHINGTON 0 7 0 0 -- 7
HILLIARD DARBY 0 7 0 7 -- 14
HD--Talley 3 run (Kaplan kick)
TW--Harvard 1 pass from Wells (Shary kick)
HD--Kohl 24 interception return (Kaplan kick)