The Hilliard Darby High School football team ended four seasons of frustration by beating host Hilliard Davidson 17-3 on Aug. 31.
The Wildcats had won the previous four meetings in the series, including 21-0 last season.
Darby’s other win came in the first meeting in 2007, 21-10 at Crew Stadium.
Caleb Day led the Panthers, rushing for 94 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. The Illinois recruit added a 43-yard kickoff return to begin the second half, setting up his 50-yard touchdown run on a reverse as the Panthers opened a 14-3 lead with 10 minutes, 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
“Caleb made some great plays and the reverse that he scored on was a big play coming out after half, being able to score points,” Darby coach John Santagata said. “It was a big play for us.”
Davidson had a chance to draw closer late in the third quarter, as the Wildcats used pass completions of 40 and 14 yards to reach the Darby 5-yard line. Darby held, however, as Devon Booth broke up a pass intended for Nick Waters near the goal line on fourth down with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
Kyle Kaplan’s 20-yard field goal for Darby with 2:54 remaining closed out the scoring.
After the Panthers were held without a first down for most of the first quarter, the visitors took a 7- 3 lead when Day scored on a 5-yard run with 8:28 left in the second quarter, capping a 10-play, 53-yard drive. The drive was aided by a late hit called against the Wildcats, giving Darby a first down at the Davidson 33.
Davidson’s only points resulted from a Darby miscue on the Panthers’ first possession.
On fourth-and-7 from the Darby 34-yard line, Booth’s long snap sailed over punter Nate Green’s head, giving Davidson a first down at the Darby 5. The Wildcats had to settle for Jack Johns’ 22-yard field goal with 6:06 remaining in the first quarter, however.
“I was extremely proud of the defense and how hard they played,” Santagata said. “A lot of those kids are two-way players. They came out and played hard. In practice they work hard and they had a good game.”
“Our inexperience just shows up not so much out here on game night but in our preparation,” Davidson coach Brian White said. “We just don’t know how to prepare. Our senior leadership is extremely poor. There’s just nobody getting us through practice when things aren’t going well.”
HDAV – Jack Johns 22 FG
HDAR – Day 5 run (Kaplan kick)
HDAR – Day 50 run (Kaplan kick)
HDAR – Kaplan 20 FG