Darien Miller rushed for 168 yards and three touchdowns to spark the Westerville South High School football team to a 28-16 come-from-behind victory over host Hilliard Bradley on Sept. 22.
The OCC-Cardinal Division game was suspended because of lightning with 7 minutes, 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter Sept. 21. Bradley was leading 16-14.
On the Wildcats’ second offensive play after the game resumed, quarterback Nick Renzetti connected with Jalen Bell on a 78-yard touchdown pass with 4:19 left in third to give South its first lead.
“Being behind really motivated us,” said South coach Rocky Pentello, whose team improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in OCC-Cardinal play. “And we got a boost from Darien, who is a good football player and he loves to play the (running back) position. He would probably be starting anywhere else.”
Miller was subbing for senior starter Noah Prentiss, who left midway through the second quarter with back problems. The junior scored South’s first points on a 28-yard run with 1:51 left in the first half, cutting his team’s deficit to 16-7.
Just before the game was suspended, Miller broke several tackles on a 70-yard scoring run to pull his team to 16-14 with 7:20 left in the third.
“That was a big turnaround for us,” Miller said. “It really means a lot for us (to go 5-0) and we just have to keep working toward the championship.”
South defensive back Timmy Bates had both of his interceptions in the fourth quarter, with the first leading to the final score. Bates intercepted Bradley quarterback Tommy Horn at the Bradley 35, and three plays later, Miller ran 35 yards for a score with 10:01 to play.
“I didn’t play well (last week) and was pretty hard on myself overnight,” Bates said. “Really, it was all about coaching. (Defensive coordinator) coach (Ricky) Vaughn had me in the right place.”
On their next possession, the Jaguars (3-2, 0-2) drove to the South 6, but linebacker Myles Collier sacked Horn for a 12-yard loss on fourth-and-goal with 4:30 to play.
“We had our chances (in the second half) but couldn’t score,” Bradley coach Mike LoParo said. “Your offense needs to be your defense at times. When you have weapons like (the Wildcats) do, you have to keep them off of the field.”
Bradley scored on its third play from scrimmage when wingback Matt Bryant went 76 yards on an end-around with 11:35 remaining in the first quarter. The Jaguars added two second-quarter scores -- a Matt Bradley 20-yard field goal and an 11-yard Horn touchdown pass to Zack Popovec.
Renzetti was 5-for-12 passing in the first half for 41 yards, but finished 11 of 27 for 164 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Bell had three receptions for 100 yards and one touchdown, and Marcus Ball caught five passes for 29 yards.
Horn was 5-for-16 passing in the second half for 35 yards and two interceptions. He finished 12 of 29 for 101 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
HB -- Bryant 59 run (Bradley kick)
HB -- Bradley 20 FG
HB -- Popovec 11 pass from Horn (kick failed)
WS -- Miller 28 run (Linzell kick)
WS -- Miller 70 run (Linzell kick)
WS -- Bell 78 pass from Renzetti (Linzell kick)
WS -- Miller 35 run (Linzell kick)