A trio of first-half turnovers put things in motion for the New Albany High School football team to avenge losses the last two seasons to Gahanna Lincoln on Sept. 14.
The Lions had other ideas, though, as they rallied from a three-touchdown deficit to force overtime.
After both teams exchanged touchdowns during the first overtime, Gahanna’s Justus Harris caught a pass from quarterback Will Thomas on fourth-and-15 from the 25 and landed in the end zone.
Tyler Koss made the extra point to give the Lions a 41-40 victory as they improved to 2-2 and the Eagles fell to 2-2.
“Will kind of threw it short, but I was like, ‘I’ve got to get this’ and I just brought it in,” Harris said. “Honestly, all along I knew we were going to come back.”
Gahanna had trailed 27-6 in the third quarter, but with 2:08 remaining in the game, Harris scored on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Thomas and Koss made the extra point to tie the game at 27.
The Lions got the ball to begin overtime and Harris ran for a 20-yard touchdown on the first play to make it 34-27.
New Albany’s Michiah Burton then ran for a 1-yard touchdown on his team’s first overtime possession to tie it at 34.
In the second overtime, Burton ran for a 10-yard touchdown to make it 40-34 but the Eagles missed the extra point.
That set up the game’s final possession, which ended with Harris’ touchdown reception.
Harris rushed for 158 yards on 15 carries and added 108 yards receiving and two scores on five catches.
“Just the fashion of how we won being down early, a lot of turnovers early, especially in our own territory, it just feels good for our team to gain some confidence,” Lions coach Bruce Ward said.
The Lions fumbled on the game’s first play to set up the Eagles at the Gahanna 31. Eight plays later, Brode White ran in from 6 yards for a 7-0 lead.
Gahanna was forced to punt on its next possession but New Albany was called for running into the kicker to extend the drive. On the next play, however, Thomas was intercepted by Luke Dovell and he returned it 54 yards for a touchdown.
Gahanna sustained its first scoring drive late in the first quarter, with Thomas hooking up with Cam Morris for a 24-yard touchdown with 11:45 to go in the first half.
New Albany then marched 70 yards in 18 plays, with quarterback Luke Muter running in for a 7-yard touchdown on second-and-goal with 3:49 left in the first half.
On New Albany’s second drive of the third quarter, Muter ran for 65 yards to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by White on the next play to make it 27-6.
Gahanna got a long play of its own to set up its second score when Harris ran for 72 yards to set up his own 8-yard scoring run on the next play.
Thomas connected with Morris for an 80-yard touchdown with 7:19 left to make it 27-20.
“Our whole thing was we wanted to win the third and fourth quarter and we didn’t finish,” said Eagles coach Matthew Kidwell, a 1992 Gahanna graduate who is a member of the Lions’ Athletic Hall of Fame.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 OT 2OT Final GAHANNA 0 6 7 14 7 7 41 NEW ALBANY
13 7 7 0 7 6 40
NA—White 6 run (Rogers kick)
NA—Dovell 54 interception return (pass failed)
G—Morris 24 pass from Thomas (kick failed)
NA—Muter 7 run (Rogers kick)
NA—White 3 run (Rogers kick)
G—Harris 8 run (Koss kick)
G—Morris 80 pass from Thomas (Koss kick)
G—Harris 24 pass from Thomas (Koss kick)
G—Harris 20 run (Koss kick)
NA—Burton 1 run (Rogers kick)
NA—Burton 10 run (kick failed)
G—Harris 25 pass from Thomas (Koss kick)