The Hilliard Davidson High School football team successfully responded to its first postseason challenge against visiting Olentangy Orange on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Alex Mickley rushed for 192 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries and the Wildcats limited Orange running back Brandon Schoen to 22 yards on 15 carries in a 22-0 win in a Division I, Region 3 first-round playoff game.
Schoen had rushed for 1,237 yards and scored 29 touchdowns during the regular season for the Pioneers, who finished 8-3.
“We told our kids before the game our main goal was to impose our will on them,” Davidson coach Brian White said. “I’d like to think in the second half they were able to do that just a little bit.”
The Wildcats improve to 10-0 and will play Upper Arlington (9-2) in a regional semifinal on Saturday, Nov. 12. The Golden Bears defeated Troy 21-20 in overtime on Nov. 5.
Davidson beat UA 25-7 on Oct. 21 en route to the OCC-Central Division title.
“It was a good football game,” Orange coach Brian Cross said. “They did what they wanted to do as far as controlling the ball. I thought our defense played outstanding.”
The Pioneers remained within striking distance for most of the game, but could not generate offense against Davidson’s defense. Orange had four first downs to 15 for the Wildcats.
The teams traded punts for most of the first half until Davidson used a late drive to score first. After getting the ball at its 36 when Orange turned over the ball on downs with 30 seconds left, Mickley broke free for a 35-yard gain and Tyler Talbott followed with a 12-yard run to set up a 32-yard field goal by Jack Johns as time expired.
Talbott pushed the lead for 9-0 when he scored on a 53-yard punt return with 7 minutes, 17 seconds left in the third quarter.
Davidson’s special teams also set up the next score, as Sean Neimeister recovered a ball that glanced off Jacob Lewis’ foot on a punt, giving Davidson a first down at the Orange 6-yard line. Mickley scored on the next play, giving the Wildcats a 16-0 lead with 11:47 left in the game.
Mickley closed the scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run with 3:15 remaining, capping a 12-play, 64-yard drive that lasted 6:52.
Chris Harris intercepted a Kofi Hill pass on the Pioneers’ final possession.
Davidson rushed for 285 yards on 52 carries while limiting Orange to 42 yards on 27 carries.
“For us to hold (Schoen) to zero touchdowns, I’m just so happy the way our defense played and our offense doing enough to get us on to the second round,” White said.
“The key thing is that big zero up on the scoreboard,” Cross said. “We couldn’t get much going offensively. We tried our sweeps, we tried some (isolation plays), we tried throwing the ball and their defense is just a little quicker than we were able to show in practice, so we weren’t getting to some of the blocks that we thought we might be able to get to.”
OLENTANGY ORANGE 0 0 0 0– 0
HILLIARD DAVIDSON 0 3 6 13 – 22
HD--Johns 32 FG
HD--Talbott 53 punt return (kick failed)
HD--Mickley 6 run (Johns kick)
HD--Mickley 6 run (run failed)