Quarterback Joey Longhino threw for 298 yards and rushed for 79 more, accounting for four touchdowns while rallying the Olentangy Liberty High School football team to a 43-21 win over host Olentangy Orange on Aug. 24 in the opener for both teams.
The Patriots scored 37 points in the second half to make up for a first half that included two touchdowns called back because of penalties.
“We showed a lot of heart in the second half, but we have to stay focused because we can’t have first halves like that,” Liberty coach Steve Hale said. “We started taking the game to them and started playing together. That’s what we need to do all year.”
Longhino completed 15 of 22 passes with one touchdown and one interception. The senior also rushed nine times and scored on runs of 1, 9 and 35 yards. Austin Mullins rushed for 117 yards on 13 carries with touchdowns of 20 and 37 yards. He also caught five passes for 74 yards.
“They kept putting pressure on me up the middle (in the first half),” Longhino said. “But we were able to execute in the second half and take the momentum.”
Orange led 21-6 at halftime without having a penalty or turnover. That changed in the second half as the Pioneers turned the ball over four times and were penalized seven times for 40 yards.
“We turned the ball over (on a fumble at the Orange 16) on the first drive of the second half,” Orange coach Brian Cross said. “You could feel the momentum change on that play. We were up 21-6, but (Liberty) was able to take over from there. The game wasn’t the same after that.”
Longhino scored on a 9-yard run and then hit Mullins with a two-point conversion pass for a 21-14 deficit with 11 minutes, 13 seconds left in the third quarterback.
Liberty’s Brock Rumbaugh later intercepted Orange quarterback Kofi Hill at the Patriots’ 47. One play later, Longhino hit Matt Muntean with a 53-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 21 with 3:21 left in the third.
Three fourth-quarter touchdowns secured Liberty’s win.
Hill was 8-for-17 passing for 164 yards, two interceptions and a 22-yard touchdown pass to Larry Rode. The senior quarterback also had rushing touchdowns of 7 and 14 yards. Fullback Mike Forbes led the Pioneers with 79 yards on 13 carries.
Liberty had 416 total yards to 339 for Orange.
OO -- Hill 7 run (Hopkins kick)
OO -- Hill 14 run (Hopkins kick)
OL -- Longhino 1 run (kick failed)
OO -- Rode 22 pass from Hill (Hopkins kick)
OL -- Longhino 9 run (Mullins pass from Longhino)
OL -- Muntean 53 pass from Longhino (Vucelich kick)
OL -- Mullins 20 run (Muntean run)
OL -- Longhino 35 run (Vucelich kick)
OL -- Mullins 37 run (Vucelich kick)