For a short time during the third quarter of its game against the Gahanna Lincoln High School football team, New Albany created a window of opportunity.
That chance seemed to close just as quickly.
After the Eagles scored on the opening drive of the second half to pull within 14 points, the Lions responded with a touchdown two minutes later and pulled away for a 40-20 home victory Sept. 15.
Gahanna’s passing attack — featuring quarterback Mike Lowery and receivers Jerome Buckner and David Miller — did most of the damage.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons, playmakers and plays we can make,” Buckner said.
The Lions took a 21-0 lead into halftime after Lowery hit Miller for a 23-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left in the second quarter.
New Albany opened the second half with a 10-play, 71-yard drive that featured a 30-yard run by Michiah Burton and an 18-yard run by Jalin Jackson. Ty Ward completed the drive with a 1-yard run to make it 21-7 with 7:29 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Gahanna turned to its running game to regain control.
Starting at their 29-yard line, Justus Harris carried on five of the six plays, including breaking one for 42 yards, and scored on a 2-yard run with 5:30 left in the period to make it 28-7.
Lowery connected with Miller for a 26-yard touchdown pass with 1:30 left in the third and with Buckner for a 36-yard score with 9:49 remaining for Gahanna’s final points.
Miller had nine catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns and Buckner also had two touchdown catches. Harris rushed 18 times for 131 yards.
“We wanted to establish some run because we’ve got to be able to do both,” Lions coach Bruce Ward said. “Our defense has been playing real well.”
Jonathan Harrington had three tackles for loss to lead the Gahanna defense, which held New Albany to 2 yards passing through three quarters.
Burton ran for 72 yards and one touchdown, Luke Dovell had 54 yards rushing and Jalin Jackson added 51 yards passing and 45 yards rushing to lead the Eagles.
“We had a rough week with some adversity hitting us hard,” Eagles coach Pat Samanich said. “We had some injuries and a couple discipline issues, but we’ve got 75 guys that are tough. We got a little bit better in the second half because our guys get after it.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final NEW ALBANY 0 0 7 13 20 GAHANNA LINCOLN
7 14 13 6 40
G—Lowery 24 run (Stillwell kick)
G—Buckner 10 pass from Lowery (Stillwell kick)
G—Miller 23 pass from Lowery (Stillwell kick)
NA—Ward 1 run (Paragas kick)
G—Harris 2 run (Stillwell kick)
G—Miller 26 pass from Lowery (kick blocked)
G—Buckner 36 pass from Lowery (kick blocked)
NA—Burton 10 run (Paragas kick)
NA—Dovell 9 run (no kick)