The Reynoldsburg High School football team didn’t let history repeat itself.
A year after blowing a 27-point second-half lead to Olentangy and losing to the Braves, the host Raiders cut down on their mistakes and made Olentangy pay for five failed fourth-down conversions in a 31-7 win Sept. 8.
Mershawn Rice caught five passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, and the Raiders did not commit a turnover as they scored the last 28 points and improved to 2-1.
“We are who we think we are,” said Reynoldsburg coach Buddy White, whose team has back-to-back victories after a Week 1 loss to New Albany. “This was not a fluke. This was the most focused they’ve been so far. Hard work pays off, and discipline pays off.”
Reynoldsburg led 10-7 at halftime thanks to Rice’s first touchdown catch, a 34-yard pass from Justin Henry on the first play of the second quarter. But the big swing in momentum came midway through the third, when Olentangy advanced to the Raiders’ 34-yard line and was faced with a fourth-and-5.
Connor Haag completed a pass to Jace Middleton, but Donovan Hines made the stop 2 yards short of a first down.
Five plays later, Reynoldsburg quarterback Michael Whatley — who came in when starter Justin Henry suffered an apparent rib injury in the second quarter — lofted a 57-yard touchdown pass to Rice for a 17-7 lead.
“We just wanted to put them away and give them no chance to come back,” said Rice, who missed last year’s loss with a left ankle injury. “I just made sure I caught the ball and finished the play. I wanted to make sure I got behind their defense.”
J’vonte Edwards’ 54-yard touchdown run two minutes into the fourth quarter and a 1-yard score from Guy Cowans-Wright on the Raiders’ next possession made it a rout.
Ian Drummond’s 15-yard touchdown catch from Riley Bruening in the first quarter provided Olentangy’s only points. The Braves fell to 2-1.
“In five seasons (here), this was my first team that was just not ready to play,” Olentangy coach Mark Solis said. “I don’t understand it. We had a great week of practice. They mentally were not here, and it’s frustrating.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final OLENTANGY 7 0 0 0 7 REYNOLDSBURG
3 7 7 14 31
R—Philhower 32 FG
O—Drummond 15 pass from Bruening (Petrone kick)
R—Rice 34 pass from Henry (Philhower kick)
R—Rice 57 pass from Whatley (Philhower kick)
R—Edwards 54 run (Philhower kick)
R—Cowans-Wright 1 run (Philhower kick)