More than three-quarters of the New Albany football team’s 362 total yards Sept. 6 against Dublin Scioto came on the ground, but the Eagles stretched the Irish’s defense at the perfect time despite being in an undesirable spot.

With 6 minutes left in the game and first-and-goal at the Irish 8 turning into third-and-goal at the 20 after two penalties, quarterback Brock Tibbitts kept the play alive long enough to find a leaping Owen Wilcox on the left side of the end zone for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown as New Albany used a 14-point fourth quarter to edge visiting Scioto 28-24.

“(Wilcox) is my main receiver, my favorite target, and I just always trust him to be able to make a play,” Tibbitts said. “I put the ball up there for him and my offensive line gave me plenty of time to make a play.”

Reed Hall rushed for 192 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries for New Albany, which improved to 1-1 by overcoming 16 penalties for 140 yards and a 24-14 deficit to start the fourth quarter.

The Eagles, who amassed 277 yards on the ground, were playing without coach Bubba Kidwell, who suffered a heart attack Aug. 31 after a 48-21 loss to Westerville South on Aug. 30.

Kidwell watched Sept. 6 from the coaches’ booth in the press box and was on the field after the game to celebrate with the team. He said before the game that, pending a doctor’s release, he hopes to coach the Eagles in their Sept. 13 game at Licking Heights.

“We’ve had a tough week. It’s been an emotional week and these guys stepped up. It’s what you want them to do when you face adversity,” said offensive coordinator Brian Finn, who is serving as interim coach. “One of our coaches saw something in their defense (on the game-winning touchdown) and Brock and Owen stepped up and made a huge play.”

Pete Hrelec’s 34 carries for 160 yards and three touchdowns paced Scioto, which fell to 0-2. Two of those scores came in the third quarter, from 1 and 17 yards, as the Irish pulled ahead 24-14.

He also scored from 10 yards with 12 seconds left in the first half to give Scioto a 10-7 lead.

Brody Kidwell’s 56-yard touchdown catch from Tibbitts a minute into the fourth got New Albany within 24-21, and the Eagles got a huge break when a bad snap on a punt was downed at the 8-yard line, giving New Albany first and goal.

“You have to close in the second half and we did not,” Scioto coach Karl Johnson said. “We’re still trying to learn how to win as a team.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

==========

Team 1 2 3 4 Final DUBLIN SCIOTO 0 10 14 0 24 NEW ALBANY
7 0 7 14 28

NA—Hall 4 run (Hoff kick)

DS—Farrell 29 FG

DS—Hrelec 10 run (Farrell kick)

NA—Hall 19 run (Hoff kick)

DS—Hrelec 1 run (Farrell kick)

DS—Hrelec 17 run (Farrell kick)

NA—Kidwell 56 pass from Tibbitts (Hoff kick)

NA—Wilcox 20 pass from Tibbitts (Hoff kick)