In a battle of teams known for big offensive numbers, the defense for the Olentangy Orange High School football team stole the show Friday, Oct. 21.
The Pioneers limited visiting Hilliard Bradley to minus-22 yards in the third quarter and won 33-14 in a matchup of teams battling for the postseason.
Orange improved to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Capital Division. The Jaguars dropped to 6-3 and 3-3.
“We had some mental errors at times like someone would miss a block or 10 players would be running one play and one person would run another. Things like that,” Bradley coach Mike LoParo said. “You can’t do this against a team of this caliber.”
Orange started fast when Luke Wolford raced 70 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. Bryan Schrader, who also had a 31-yard field goal, made the first of his four extra points for a 7-0 lead 19 seconds into the game.
“That’s the way you want to start off a game,” Orange coach Brian Cross said. “We started well, but I thought we were a little sluggish (in the game). Maybe we expect perfection or maybe we hadn’t been in a close game for a while, but whatever the reason, I thought we could have played better.”
Bradley junior Eric Bridgett then bobbled the ensuing kickoff at his team’s 2-yard line, but recovered and ran to the Orange 20 before slipping on the turf.
“Eric said he had trouble catching his breath for whatever reason and that’s how he went down,” LoParo said. “We then weren’t able to convert a field goal and that hurt us, especially because they went down and scored to make it 14-0.”
The Pioneers went 80 yards in seven plays, scoring on a 15-yard run by senior Brandon Schoen with 6:07 left in the opening quarter.
“This was an emotional game for us because it was our last home game as seniors,” said Schoen, who finished with 98 yards on 19 carries and also had a 1-yard score. “We thought about this all week and we were glad to come away with a win.”
The Jaguars got on the scoreboard in the second quarter on a fourth-down, 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Conor Driscoll to Cody Klein. Driscoll finished 8-for-17 for 81 yards. Klein had four receptions for 32 yards.
In the third quarter, Orange got a 31-yard field goal from Schrader with 6:48 left. Then 1:37 later, the Pioneers added a safety when the snap to Bradley punter Spencer Gates from the Jaguars’ 21 was high and rolled through the end zone.
“That was probably the key play,” Cross said. “That put us up by (13) points and then Brandon went down and scored (on a 1-yard run) to put us up by 20.”
Bradley scored in the fourth quarter on a 43-yard run by Terell Stanford, who had 61 yards on eight carries. Driscoll connected with Stanford on the two-point conversion pass.
Orange capped the scoring on a 25-yard run by quarterback Kofi Hill with 5:44 to play. A block at the 17 by senior wide receiver Daniel Bull paved the way for the touchdown.
“I just tried to fire off of the ball and make contact and get him away from the ball,” Bull said. “It’s just part of what we all do on the field to help out our team.”
Blake Scipio entered the game as Bradley’s first 1,000-yard rusher, but he finished with 10 carries for 58 yards with none of his yards in the second half. Stanford had two catches for 31 yards and Jalen Jackson had two receptions for 18 yards.
Wolford had 71 yards rushing on three carries and Michael Forbes added 79 yards on 16 carries for Orange. Hill rushed for 67 yards on nine carries and was 2-for-9 passing for 51 yards. Wolford had both receptions for 51 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Jacob Lewis had a fumble recovery and a sack for Orange. Senior Cole McCurry also had a sack for the Pioneers.
BRADLEY 0 6 0 8 -- 14
ORANGE 14 0 12 7 -- 33
OO--Wolford 70 run (Schrader kick)
OO--Schoen 15 run (Schrader kick)
HB--Klein 15 pass from Driscoll (kick failed)
OO--Schrader 31 FG
OO--Safety, punt snapped through end zone
OO--Schoen 1 run (Schrader kick)
HB--Stanford 43 run (Stanford pass from Driscoll)
OO--K. Hill 25 run (Schrader kick)