Ohio State commit Jaelen Gill didn’t waste any time in proving the broken leg that sidelined him for much of last season was fully healed.
The senior running back for the Westerville South High School football team rushed for 138 yards and scored four touchdowns against host Dublin Scioto on Aug. 25 before he was slowed by darkness.
An electrical problem forced officials to delay the second half for nearly two hours because the stadium lights wouldn’t come on. They finally began to glow around 9:30 p.m. From there, the Wildcats finished off the Irish 50-14 in the season opener for both teams.
“It was very important to have a start like that and remind people that this is what I can do, and this is what I can bring to the next level,” said Gill, who was injured in Week 2 last season. “I’m just blessed to be back out here. I’m excited.”
Coaches debated finishing the game Saturday morning, but an electrician was able to find the problem and fix it.
The Irish had no solutions for stopping Gill, who scored on touchdown runs of 8, 41 and 6 yards and caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Max Barber with 6 seconds left in the first half to make it 36-7.
Gill, who committed to play defensive back at Ohio State in March, ran untouched on the 41-yard touchdown with 7:53 left in the first half to make it 29-0. He also caught two passes for 67 yards.
South’s offensive eruption accounted for more touchdowns than its offense scored all of last season when it finished 1-9 with just four offensive scores.
Barber, who completed four of eight passes for 119 yards, concluded his night with two touchdown passes, including a 43-yard throw to Michael McLemore to make it 22-0 with 11:53 left in the second quarter.
Scioto was held to just 2 yards rushing in the first half and didn’t score its first points until late in the second quarter when Jaden Penn found Tobias Thomas open in the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
Penn was starting at quarterback in place of junior Kyron Rogers, who is out with a hand injury sustained during preseason conditioning. The Irish were missing three other starters because of injuries.
“We had a lot of kids get their first varsity start tonight, and they’re going to get better,” Scioto coach Karl Johnson said. “We can’t define a season by where we are at in Week 1.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final DUBLIN SCIOTO
15 21 7 0 50 WESTERVILLE SOUTH
0 7 0 7 14
WS—Gill 8 run (Boyer kick)
WS—Mansaray 50 run (Falls run)
WS—McLemore 43 pass from Barber (Boyer kick)
WS—Gill 41 run (Boyer kick)
DS—Thomas 26 pass from Penn (Crosa kick)
WS—Gill 32 pass from Barber (Boyer kick)
WS—Gill 6 run (Boyer kick)
DS—Ramirez 23 run (Crosa kick)
WS—Roberts 65 interception return (Boyer kick)