Matt Webb knew his Olentangy Liberty High School football team got more than a victory in a 25-24 come-from-behind win over host Olentangy Orange on Oct. 20 in the OCC-Buckeye Division.
The senior running back scored the decisive touchdown on a 2-yard run, giving the Patriots their first lead and clinching at least a share of the league championship. It also possibly earned them a home game in the Division I, Region 2 playoffs in two weeks.
“This means everything,” said Webb, who rushed for 47 yards on 12 carries and scored both of his touchdowns in the final 3 minutes, 1 second. “This means we get a home playoff game, it means we win the league and it means me and my teammates have something we can always remember.”
The Patriots, who improved to 6-2 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Buckeye, trailed 24-6 after Orange quarterback Luke Schmeling connected with Zach Harrison for a 39-yard touchdown pass with 6:26 left in the third quarter.
Liberty scored the final 19 points, however. Wide receiver Ben Roderick caught a 9-yard pass from quarterback Mitchell Okuley with 9:28 left and Webb added a 1-yard run with 3:01 to play.
Orange then punted with 2:26 left, and Liberty took over on its own 43-yard line. Webb gave the Patriots key first downs on a 13-yard run and also on a 12-yard reception to the Pioneers 11.
“We practice two-minute drills every day in practice and we tried to do what we do there,” said Webb, who had two catches for 29 yards. “(Despite being behind,) there’s really nothing that changed. We got into the huddle and we knew the game wasn’t over. We knew if we gave 100 percent on every single play that we weren’t losing this game.”
Okuley was 16-for-28 passing for 176 yards and two touchdowns, and Johnny Wiseman had eight receptions for 86 yards and one score.
For the Pioneers, Schmeling rushed for 120 yards on 10 carries, including a 76-yard touchdown. He was 11-for-17 passing for 107 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Harrison had two receptions for 56 yards, and also had 1.5 sacks at defensive end.
“Credit the kids from over there. They made the plays when they needed to,” said Orange coach Zebb Schroeder, whose team dropped to 8-1 overall and 3-1 in the league. “The fans really got their money’s worth.”
Orange linebacker Bryce Houston, an Ohio University commit, left the game during the final series with a sprained knee, according to Schroeder. He had 9.5 tackles.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final OLENTANGY LIBERTY 0 6 0 19 25 OLENTANGY ORANGE
3 14 7 0 24
OO—Simon FG 47
OO—Applegate 20 run (Simon kick)
OO—Schmeling 76 run (Simon kick)
OL—Wiseman 6 pass from Okuley (kick failed)
OO—Harrison 39 pass from Schmeling (Simon kick)
OL—Roderick 9 pass from Okuley (Leary kick)
OL—Webb 1 run (pass failed)
OL—Webb 2 run (pass failed)