For the first time in five tries, the Olentangy Orange High School football team found a way to beat Big Walnut.
Running back Larry Rode scored the only touchdown and Mitchell Hopkins had a 34-yard field goal to lead the visiting Pioneers to a 10-0 win over Big Walnut in an OCC-Capital Division game Oct. 19.
Orange improved to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Capital and extended its winning streak to three games, while Big Walnut dropped to 5-4 and 3-3 with its second consecutive loss.
The Pioneers, who had been 0-4 all-time against Big Walnut, took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on an 8-yard run by Rode and the extra point by Hopkins. The score was set up by Joshua Parker, who returned an interception 32 yards to the Golden Eagles' 22.
Orange coach Brian Cross had talked to his players about winning the battle at the line of scrimmage.
“That’s what we told the kids before the game, that whoever won the game would have to dominate the line of scrimmage, and I think tonight we got the best of them,” Cross said.
Big Walnut trailed 7-0 at halftime but had an opportunity to tie the game after safety Seth Myers intercepted Pioneers quarterback Jacob Stier and returned the ball 42 yards to the Orange 28 with 3 minutes, 15 seconds left in the third quarter.
However, the Golden Eagles turned the ball over on downs at the Orange 21 and the Pioneers began a drive that took 8:22 off the clock and culminated with Hopkins' field goal with 5:29 left in the fourth quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Big Walnut quarterback Carson Chatterton was intercepted by Kori Saunders at the Golden Eagles 40-yard line. The turnover effectively sealed the outcome.
Chatterton finished 9-for-23 passing for 71 yards and two interceptions. Running back Christian Johnson led the Golden Eagles on the ground, rushing for 41 yards on 10 carries.
“We just didn’t play Big Walnut football,” Chatterton said. “We didn’t play our game. We didn’t need to do anything special. We just needed to play our game.”
Rode finished with 138 yards on 29 carries and fullback Michael Forbes ran for 66 yards on 22 carries.
“That’s exactly what we want to do,” Cross said. “We want to pound you with our fullback and halfback. We don’t have a great passing game, so we have to come after you. The guys did a heck of a job tonight.”
OO -- Rode 8 run (Hopkins kick)
OO-- Hopkins 34 FG