The Olentangy Liberty football team was shut out each of the past two seasons by Pickerington North, including in last year’s opener, but it flipped the script Aug. 30.
The Patriots scored a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to seize control and went on to win 31-19.
Quarterback Corbin Parrish, who started one game last season when 2019 graduate Mitchell Okuley was out with an injury, threw for two touchdowns and rushed for a score.
“We picked it up in the second half and the defense did what they do,” Parrish said. “The run game, the line did a great job and we just kept going.”
With 2 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third quarter on third-and-9, Parrish completed a short pass to Camden Barcus, who then found open field, ran past one defender and scored from 50 yards to give his team a 28-13 lead.
“We came here and had to get back to work at halftime,” Liberty coach Steve Hale. “We just went back to the basics.”
On the opening drive of the second half, Liberty drove 80 yards to take a 14-7 lead. The biggest play of the drive was a 46-yard run by Aidan Kenley to move the Patriots to the North 10, and Parrish hit Kyle Wilson two plays later for a 10-yard score that broke a 7-all tie.
Then after forcing the Panthers to punt on their ensuing drive, Liberty took over at the North 40. On the second play of the possession, Parrish faked a handoff to Kenley, broke through the hole and ran for a 36-yard touchdown to give his team a 21-7 lead.
North cut it to 21-13 with 5:20 left in the third quarter on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Dom Myers to Chris Scott, completing an 11-play, 72-yard drive.
The Patriots took a 7-0 lead with 4:29 left in the first quarter on a 34-yard run by Kenley, completing a three-play drive that included passes of 28 and 8 yards to Barcus.
North’s only first-half scoring drive was completed with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Myers to Hayden Kaltenecker with 44 seconds to go before halftime. That completed an eight-play, 71-yard drive.
Myers was starting his first game after it was determined earlier in the week that the Panthers wouldn’t have Gio Thomas, who was projected to be the quarterback but moved out of state.
Scott finished with 17 receptions, and Jack Sawyer had nine receptions and four sacks.
“We had a couple blown assignments and the depth they had, they just made a few plays,” North coach Nate Hillerich said.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final PICKERINGTON NORTH 0 7 6 6 19 OLENTANGY LIBERTY
7 0 21 3 31
OL—Kenley 34 run (Rosselli kick)
PN—Kaltenecker 37 pass from Myers (Pope kick)
OL—Wilson 10 pass from Parrish (Rosselli kick)
OL—Parrish 36 run (Rosselli kick)
PN—Scott 18 pass from Myers (kick blocked)
OL—Barcus 50 pass from Parrish (Rosselli kick)
OL—Rosselli 35 FG
PN—Wippel 7 pass from Myers (pass failed)