The Reynoldsburg High School football team held off a late rally by host Lancaster to win 27-20 in an OCC-Ohio Division game on Oct. 12.
The Raiders led 21-6 at halftime and 27-6 midway through the fourth quarter, but Lancaster running back Jared Thompson ran for a 35-yard touchdown with 6 minutes, 33 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 27-13.
Jerry King’s 3-yard touchdown run then cut the deficit to 27-20 with 2:05 left, and the Golden Gales recovered an onside kick at midfield to give themselves one final possession for a potential game-tying or game-winning drive.
Reynoldsburg stopped Lancaster on downs at the Raiders’ 27-yard line with 19 seconds remaining, however.
The Raiders committed five penalties on the final Lancaster drive, but also recorded five sacks -- their only sacks of the game -- to improve to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the league.
Lancaster dropped to 2-6 and 1-4.
“The defense really came through on that last drive,” Reynoldsburg coach Buddy White said. “The line just pinned their ears back and made the plays they had to make.”
The Raiders went 78 yards in 11 plays on their opening drive, taking a 7-0 lead when Kumar Collins scored on a 7-yard run just over five minutes into the game.
The Gales then fumbled on their first play from scrimmage and Reynoldsburg converted that turnover into an eight-play, 41-yard drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Aekins to Mykel Traylor-Bennett.
Late in the first quarter, Lancaster quarterback Alex Butsko fumbled and Reynoldsburg’s Tyrek Pugh scooped up the ball and ran 75 yards along the Lancaster sideline for a 21-0 lead.
The Raiders ran 23 plays for 165 yards while Lancaster had four plays for 5 yards in the opening quarter.
Lancaster coach Rob Carpenter said the turnovers were key.
“Those three turnovers and especially that fumble return were the difference in the game,” he said. “Our kids played with passion in the second half, but it was too little, too late.”
White was pleased that his team turned the Lancaster miscues into points.
“Any time we get a turnover we try to capitalize on it, and we did that tonight,” White said. “We were very opportunistic.”
Butsko threw for 98 yards and one touchdown for the Golden Gales but lost 15 yards on 12 carries.
Tanner England came off the bench to lead Lancaster in rushing with 17 carries for 97 yards, and Thompson carried eight times for 66 yards.
Collins finished with 80 yards rushing for Reynoldsburg and scored one touchdown. Aekins rushed for 40 yards, including a 1-yard scoring run that gave the Raiders a 27-13 lead late in the third quarter. He was 3-for-5 passing for 33 yards and did not attempt a pass after the first quarter.
R—Collins 7 run (Watkins kick)
R—Trayor-Bennett 10 pass from Aekins (Watkins kick)
R—Pugh 75 fumble return (Watkins kick)
L—King 28 pass from Butsko (kick failed)
R—Aekins 1 run (run failed)
L—Thompson 35 run (Daugherty kick)
L—King 3 run (Daugherty kick)