What a difference a year makes.
One year after going 1-9 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Cardinal Division, the Olentangy Berlin football team is undefeated in the league and riding a three-game winning streak thanks to a 16-12 win at Hilliard Darby on Oct. 4.
“I think it has to start with our practices,” junior quarterback Jacob Moeller said. “We’ve been more intense and we’ve been more focused. We didn’t want to go 1-9 again.”
Moeller gave the Bears a 13-12 lead with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Corey Hill with 3 minutes, 6 seconds left in the third quarter.
He went 5-for-6 on the drive for 79 yards, and it came a possession after he was intercepted for the second time.
Moeller finished 19-for-26 for 237 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Jack Nebraska was his main target with eight catches for 110 years as the Bears improved to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in league play.
“We’ve been stressing to Jacob … just play within yourself,” Berlin coach Mark Nori said. “We’ll have options for you to throw the ball to. There’s no need to do anything special or play outside of yourself. Just take what the defense gives you. He’s still growing … we’re all still growing.”
Darby had its chances to take the lead back but the Bears had three fourth-quarter interceptions, including two by Justin Rader, to preserve win.
“(Rader) made some mistakes too,” Nori said. “I think Justin goes back and forth. We missed a fill with him in the run game and it cost us some points. But he was pretty clutch when they went back to throw the ball. He’s been a ball-hawk for us the last couple of games. He did a nice job for us at the end.”
The Panthers, who fell to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in league play, got as close as Berlin’s 36 midway through the fourth quarter. But two holding penalties forced a third-and-24 situation to set up Rader’s first pick.
Darby quarterback Jack Stultz finished 6-for-11 for 70 yards and three interceptions. He also led with 14 carries for 69 yards, including a first-quarter touchdown that gave the Panthers the early lead.
Connor Jones added a touchdown that gave Darby the lead early in the third quarter.
“I think we had a little bit of momentum and the penalties really hurt us,” Darby coach John Santagata said. “We’re just not playing the way we typically do just from a mental standpoint. It just seems to be our thing. So, we just go back to work tomorrow.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final OLENTANGY BERLIN 0 7 6 3 16 HILLIARD DARBY
0 6 6 0 12
HD – Stultz 2 run (kick failed)
OB – Moeller 5 run (Lewis kick)
HD – Jones 1 run (pass failed)
OB – Hill 25 pass from Moeller (run failed)
OB – Lewis 44 FG