The New Albany High School football team scored three touchdowns in a span of 1 minute, 34 seconds in the second quarter on its way to a 53-33 win over host Olentangy Orange on Sept. 14 in the OCC-Capital Division opener for both teams.
The Eagles, who improved to 2-2, led 7-3 after the first quarter before erupting for 33 points in the second quarter to take a 40-3 lead into halftime. The Pioneers, who shared the OCC-Capital championship with New Albany and Big Walnut last season, dropped to 2-2.
The contest marked the second game in a row in which New Albany scored more than 50 points. The Eagles defeated DeSales 56-22 on Sept. 7 after totaling 29 points in their first two games, a 10-9 loss to Reynoldsburg on Aug. 24 and a 23-20 overtime loss to Westerville Central on Aug. 31.
“It’s the offensive line,” quarterback Darron Lee said when asked what has been the key to the Eagles’ offensive explosion the last two games. “All the credit goes to them. I think after our first two losses we knew that we needed to finish, and that starts up front with our offensive line.”
New Albany took a 7-0 lead on its first possession, capping a 73-yard, six-play drive with a 10-yard run by Lee, an Ohio State recruit. The touchdown was set up by a 39-yard run by running back Alan Watson.
Orange answered with a 36-yard field goal by Mitchell Hopkins, but New Albany scored five touchdowns in the second quarter to seize control.
The Eagles went ahead 14-3 on a 10-yard pass from Lee to wide receiver Carson Tunney. Two plays from scrimmage later, defensive back Victor Chamberlain sacked Orange quarterback Kofi Hill, causing a fumble. Linebacker Keith Emerson scooped up the ball and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown to give New Albany a 21-3 lead.
On the next play from scrimmage, Orange fumbled on a reverse and linebacker Dellon Collins recovered the ball on the Pioneers’ 28. Two plays later, running back Leslie Anokye scored on a 1-yard run to make it 27-3.
In the final three minutes of the first half, Lee scored on a 5-yard run and threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Joe Siegenthaler, giving the Eagles a 37-point advantage at halftime.
“The kids came out and executed well in the first half and put Orange in bad situations, and having a 40-3 halftime lead is kind of nice, especially when you’re on the road playing an opponent like Olentangy Orange,” New Albany coach Mark Mueller said.
Orange outscored New Albany 30-13 in the second half but never got closer than 20 points.
Lee led the Eagles, completing three of six passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 136 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries. Anokye added 119 yards and a score on 16 carries.
Orange was led by running back Larry Rode, who rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. Hill completed nine of 14 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.
“They were a much better football team than we were in the first half, without a doubt,” Pioneers coach Brian Cross said. “We had some turnovers that gave them two easy touchdowns and we gave them an easy touchdown at the end of the first half.
“They have some skilled athletes and we struggled with that a little bit in the first half, but I like the way the kids came back in the second half. That’s what we’re going to take from this game.”
NA -- Lee 10 run (Quillin kick)
OO -- Hopkins 36 FG
NA -- Tunney 10 pass from Lee (Quillin kick)
NA -- Emerson 19 fumble return (Quillin kick)
NA -- Anokye 1 run (pass failed)
NA -- Lee 5 run (kick blocked)
NA -- Siegenthaler 69 pass from Lee (Quillin kick)
OO -- Rode 4 run (Hopkins kick)
OO -- Rode 4 run (Hopkins kick)
NA -- Lee 58 run (Yanok kick)
OO -- Lewis 9 pass from Hill (Gels pass from Hill)
NA -- Lee 29 run (run failed)
OO -- Rode 10 run (Gilliam pass from Hill)