One week after almost upsetting Pickerington Central, the Reynoldsburg High School football team defeated visiting Gahanna 21-7 on Sept. 28 to hand the Lions their first loss this season.
The Raiders led Central 20-7 in the fourth quarter Sept. 21, but the Tigers rallied to win 21-20 in a game that was completed the next day because of lightning delays.
This time, Reynoldsburg held on to the lead.
“It was an incredible win,” said Reynoldsburg coach Buddy White, whose team improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Ohio Division while Gahanna dropped to 5-1 and 2-1. “We were down after last week, but we told the guys if we keep playing like that and also were smarter we could build on that.”
Reynoldsburg senior defensive lineman Emmanuel Beal produced the biggest play of the game when he intercepted Gahanna quarterback Alec Tuohy’s attempted screen pass and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown with 30 seconds left in the first half to put the Raiders ahead 14-7.
“I scored in practice on Wednesday off that same play,” Beal said. “It was like a dream. I’ve been visualizing that and it happened. I secured the ball and ran.”
“(Beal) read it, broke on it and made the big play,” White said. “We worked on that play in practice.”
Reynoldsburg quarterback Jordan Aekins carried 14 times for 140 yards, and he also was 5-for-13 passing for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
“Jordan did a great job leading our offense,” White said. “Gahanna was stuffing our run but when we went to the spread, he did a great job and made some big plays for us.”
Reynoldsburg took a 7-0 lead when Kaleb Murray caught a 4-yard pass from Aekins early in the second quarter.
The Raiders closed the scoring with five minutes remaining when Aekins threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Mykel Traylor-Bennett to put the Raiders up 21-7.
Tuohy finished 16 of 29 passing for 269 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also carried 17 times for 88 yards, but was sacked three times and had to leave the game after being sacked with less than a minute remaining.
“We focused on blocking and tackling last week in practice,” White said. “We’ve played better every week this season.”
R—Murray 4 pass from Aekins (Watkins kick)
G—Randolph 44 pass from Tuohy (Blaney kick)
R—Beal 85 interception return (Watkins kick)
R—Traylor-Bennett 40 pass from Aekins (Watkins kick)