Faced with a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line in the second overtime and his team trailing Olentangy Liberty 23-20 on Sept. 6, Olentangy High School football coach Mark Solis knew he wanted the Braves’ chance at victory on the shoulders of junior running back Anthony Golden.
“He’s 205 pounds (and 5-foot-11),” Solis said, cracking a smile. “You can’t coach 205 pounds.”
Liberty also couldn’t stop him, as Golden’s 1-yard touchdown run gave the Braves a 26-23 win that seemed improbable when Olentangy trailed 20-6 with under seven minutes left in regulation.
“We have a great line up front and they’re going to get us a push every play,” Golden said. “We needed 1 yard. We were that close, and we knew if we ran (on that play), that line was going to get us the one yard we needed.”
Olentangy overcame five turnovers — including four interceptions by senior quarterback Noah Durst and a fumble into the end zone early in the fourth quarter — to move to 2-0 and record its fourth consecutive win over Liberty (1-1).
Patriots senior quarterback Matt Kessler threw touchdown passes to junior Nick Durtschi (66 yards), junior Jack Gainor (11 yards) and senior Dylan Francis (13 yards). Gainor’s touchdown broke a 6-6 tie late in the third quarter, and Francis’ score gave the Patriots a 20-6 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Olentangy pulled within 20-13 on a 4-yard touchdown run by sophomore fullback Chris Crumb with 6:25 to play, and junior defensive end Nate Hall recovered a fumble on Liberty’s next offensive play to set up the Braves at the Patriots’ 22.
Two plays later, Durst threw an 18-yard touchdown to senior receiver J.T. Grega that tied the game.
Braves sophomore kicker Jacob Bell barely missed a would-be game-winning 47-yard field goal at the end of regulation, and neither team scored in the first overtime.
Liberty junior Scott Goodwill made a 31-yard field goal to start the second overtime.
“They have some very talented players and we have some very talented players,” Patriots coach Steve Hale said. “Big players make plays and sometimes, they make mistakes. It was one of those nights, and things don’t always go as you want them to.”
OL -- Durtschi 66 pass from Kessler (kick failed)
O -- Elmurr 10 pass from Durst (pass failed)
OL -- Gainor 11 pass from Kessler (Mosteller kick)
OL -- Francis 13 pass from Kessler (Mosteller kick)
O -- Crumb 4 run (Bell kick)
O -- Grega 18 pass from Durst (Bell kick)
OL -- Goodwill 31 FG
O -- Golden 1 run