It was a tale of two halves Sept. 6 at Hilliard Darby.
Trailing 14-6 at halftime, the Hilliard Davidson football team turned to sophomore running back Leo Nixon and its special teams to rally for a 30-14 win over the Panthers.
Nixon rushed for 150 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries to help fuel the Davidson comeback.
The Wildcats, who now lead the series 9-4, improved to 2-0, while Darby dropped to 1-1.
“I shouldn’t be surprised because I’ve seen our guys do it so many times, but yet I still am surprised sometimes on what they can accomplish,” Davidson coach Brian White said.
The second-half comeback was ignited when Dylan Bunyak blocked Connor Jones’ punt, leading to Nixon’s 1-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Evan Tekancic then connected with Alex Van Voorhis for a two-point conversion that tied the game at 14-all early in the fourth quarter.
Davidson took advantage of a short punt by Jones on Darby’s next possession to take a 21-14 lead as Nixon scored on another 1-yard run.
The Wildcats added to their lead with another special teams miscue by Darby, as a low snap to Jones rolled out of the end zone for a 23-14 lead.
Nixon capped the comeback with a 6-yard run with 3 minutes, 17 seconds remaining.
The Wildcats opened the scoring on their first possession as Nixon finished a 15-play, 62-yard drive with a 1-yard run for a 6-0 lead with 18.7 seconds left in the first quarter.
Led by quarterback Jack Stultz, Darby answered on its next possession as SeVeon Stewart’s 10-yard run put the Panthers ahead 7-6.
Darby took advantage of a Davidson fumble on the next play from scrimmage, and Stultz capped a 35-yard drive — that included two fourth-down conversions — with a 1-yard run.
Stultz rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries to lead the Panthers.
“Our special teams did not do a good job with the blocked punt and other things,” Darby coach John Santagata said. “We had three bad snaps (on punts) on the evening. You can’t come out and be that unclean and come out clean at the end. Defensively, I don’t think we executed very well. They brought more energy than we did from a defensive standpoint.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final HILLIARD DAVIDSON 6 0 0 24 30 HILLIARD DARBY
0 14 0 0 14
HDAV—Nixon 1 run (kick fails)
HDAR—Stewart 10 run (DiGioia kick)
HDAR—Stultz 1 run (DiGioia kick)
HDAV—Nixon 1 run (Van Voorhis pass from Tekancic)
HDAV—Safety, punt snap out of end zone
HDAV—Nixon 1 run (Carrier kick)
HDAV—Nixon 6 run (Carrier kick)