Olentangy High School football coach Mark Solis praised his team for finding its way to a 45-24 season-opening win over Hilliard Darby on Aug. 25.
The Braves trailed 17-7 midway through the second quarter before its high-powered, multi-dimensional offense reeled off 38 consecutive points, 28 of which came off three Panthers fumbles and a bad snap on a punt that set up a first-and-goal inside the Darby 10-yard line.
Olentangy running back Ali Iverson rushed for 123 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, and quarterback Riley Bruening added touchdown runs of 5 and 4 yards in his first career start.
“We have a lot of weapons, and I’ve always been a big believer that when you have that many weapons, that’s that many more guys the defense has to account for,” Solis said. “We did a good job of spreading the ball in the running game and passing game. I really liked our running game. We have two very good running backs. It’s a great situation.”
Clint Barnett’s 46-yard touchdown run and a 37-yard field goal from Blake Sawicki put Darby ahead 10-0 in the first quarter, and the Panthers answered Iverson’s first score — from 1 yard — midway through the second quarter with Ian Coverstone’s 74-yard halfback pass to Aaron Hampshire for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead.
Iverson scored from 24 yards on a trap play to make it 17-14, and Bruening scored from 5 yards on a keeper to make it 21-17 with 52 seconds left in the first half.
“We just got ourselves together and finished strong,” Bruening said. “It was more about getting comfortable. We knew what they were doing and we just had to execute. Once those nerves left, we were fine.”
Short touchdown runs in the third quarter from Bruening (4 yards), Iverson (3 yards) and Connor Haag (4 yards) turned the game into a rout at 42-17.
Jamir Benton recovered two fumbles and Jacob Slade one.
“It wasn’t just that we turned the ball over. It was when we turned the ball over,” Darby coach John Santagata said. “Any momentum we got, those turnovers just zapped it right away.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final HILLIARD DARBY
10 7 0 7 24 OLENTANGY
21 21 3 0 45
HD—Barnett 46 run (Sawicki kick)
HD—Sawicki 37 FG
O—Iverson 1 run (Petrone kick)
HD—Hampshire 74 pass from Coverstone (Sawicki kick)
O—Iverson 24 run (Petrone kick)
O—Bruening 5 run (Petrone kick)
O—Bruening 4 run (Petrone kick)
O—Iverson 3 run (Petrone kick)
O—Haag 4 run (Petrone kick)
O—Petrone 27 FG
HD—Santos 28 run (Sawicki kick)