The Hilliard Davidson High School football team sensed it had seized the momentum.
Trailing visiting Olentangy Liberty 10-7 in the second quarter Sept. 15, the Wildcats’ defense came up with a three-and-out, and a long punt return gave Davidson the ball at the Patriots’ 40-yard line.
In a matter of seconds, however, that momentum was gone.
Davidson’s Kalib O’Connor fumbled and Liberty recovered, and the Patriots responded with a 12-play, 59-yard touchdown drive on their way to a 17-10 victory to improve to 3-1.
“That was big,” Liberty coach Steve Hale said. “In a game like this, you can’t turn the ball over. … Every time we play these guys, we know it’s going to be a hard-fought ballgame, and tonight was no exception.”
Davidson, which dropped to 1-3, had an opportunity to tie the game on its final possession. With a little more than 4 minutes left, the Wildcats began the drive at their own 32-yard line and reached the Liberty 27 before quarterback Carson Felicetty’s pass went out of the end zone on fourth-and-20 with 5 seconds left.
The Wildcats’ Sean Carrier made a 21-yard field goal with 5:34 left to make it 17-10.
“Our effort has been there. … We’re just not necessarily doing the things we need to do to beat good teams,” Davidson coach Brian White said. “The first-half turnover was definitely a turning point in the game, and then we fumble on the opening play of the second half.”
The Patriots had a 17-7 halftime lead after quarterback Mitchell Okuley tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Roderick with 23 seconds left in the second quarter on the drive that followed Davidson’s second turnover.
Okuley, who completed 18 of 23 passes for 188 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, made it 7-0 when he connected with Johnny Wiseman on a 40-yard pass on Liberty’s opening drive.
Davidson’s only touchdown came on 3-yard run by O’Connor, who capped a 20-play, 81-yard drive in the second quarter.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final OLENTANGY LIBERTY 10 7 0 0 17 HILLIARD DAVIDSON
0 7 0 3 10
OL—Wiseman 40 pass from Okuley (Kershner kick)
OL—Kershner 21 FG
HD—O’Connor 3 run (Carrier kick)
OL—Roderick 7 pass from Okuley (Kershner kick)
HD—Carrier 21 FG