The Hilliard Darby High School football team needed a couple of fourth-quarter defensive stands to end its seven-game losing streak against host Olentangy on Aug. 24.
In a wild finish, the Braves’ Jake Coleman appeared to catch the go-ahead touchdown pass from quarterback Connor Haag with 8 seconds left, but the catch was nullified by an offensive pass interference penalty.
That allowed Darby to secure a 17-14 victory.
Olentangy, which committed three turnovers and 14 penalties for 125 yards, also had a shot to take the lead with about two minutes left, but Zach Shiblaq fumbled on second-and-goal at the Darby 3-yard line, ending a 16-play drive.
“It was pretty crazy,” Darby coach John Santagata said. “Olentangy played a great game, and I thought they had a great game plan. At the end, we were the one who happened to have more points this time around.”
Haag’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Ian Drummond early in the fourth quarter cut the Panthers’ lead to 17-14.
Haag completed 29 of 48 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 58 yards on seven carries.
Darby made use of two other Olentangy fumbles that led to scores, including Connor Jones’ 50-yard run with 7:43 left in the third quarter to make it 17-8. The sophomore broke several tackles before getting free.
“It means a lot to get a win against them,” Jones said. “The past two years, we’ve been up and lost. This year, we just hung together.”
The Braves were hit with 10 first-half penalties for 90 yards and lost a fumble that set up a 28-yard field goal by Darby’s Jacob Mowell, giving the Panthers a 10-8 halftime lead.
“We told our kids all week, in Week 1 the team that makes the least mistakes and holds on to the ball usually wins,” Olentangy coach Mark Solis said. “We didn’t do that, and they won.”
A Darby fumble in the second quarter led to Olentangy’s only first-half scoring drive, with culminated with a 21-yard pass from Haag to Caden Kaiser in the end zone. Kaiser leaped above his defender to make the catch.
Quarterback Jack Stultz put the Panthers up 7-0 late in the first quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run that ended a seven-play, 36-yard drive that was set up by an 8-yard Olentangy punt.
The teams combined 749 yards of offense and ran a combined 130 plays.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final HILLIARD DARBY 7 3 7 0 17 OLENTANGY
0 8 0 6 14
HD—Stultz 3 run (Mowell kick)
O—Kaiser 21 pass from Haag (Drummond pass)
HD—Mowell 28 FG
HD—Jones 50 run (Mowell kick)
O—Drummond 20 pass from Haag (pass fail)