The Olentangy Liberty football team knows all about adversity this season — maybe too much.
Trailing 13-3 at halftime, the Patriots rallied with 20 third-quarter points on their way to a 37-20 victory over visiting Westerville South on Oct. 11 to improve to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division.
Liberty coach Steve Hale’s halftime speech was nothing more than encouraging his group to “play better and make plays.”
“Their kids made plays in the first half, and (South) coach (Matthew) Christ had them ready,” said Hale, whose team has battled injuries throughout the season. “They came out and did a really nice job against us and a really nice job of stuffing our run game.”
So, Liberty got its passing game going.
Patriots quarterback Jackson Roberts, who took over the offense in Week 5, completed 12 of 22 passes for 194 yards with three touchdowns, including two (20 and 27 yards) to Kyle Wilson in the third quarter. Roberts also was intercepted once.
Brennan Rowe’s 14-yard touchdown run gave Liberty a 23-13 lead on its third possession of the second half. Rowe finished with 83 yards on 11 carries.
The next drive ended with Roberts’ 31-yard touchdown pass to Camden Barcus, giving the Patriots their largest lead at 30-13 in the fourth quarter.
“We made some youth mistakes in the second half that put you in bad spots, and they kind of compound,” said Christ, whose team dropped to 4-3 overall and 0-2 in the league. “To (the Patriots’) credit, they made some great catches in their vertical game. I thought we were in good spots, and we’ve got to go win some of those 50-50 balls.”
After Liberty took a 3-0 lead on a 19-yard field goal by Rosselli, South’s Matthew Bame was left open along the sideline and scored on a 57-yard pass from quarterback Brayden White in the first quarter to give the Wildcats a 7-3 lead.
South extended its lead to 13-3 when Jesse DeVore leaped to grab a 47-yard touchdown pass from White with 45 seconds left in the second quarter.
White completed 17 of 33 passes for 270 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, while Brandon Armstrong led the Wildcats’ running game with 93 yards on 14 carries.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final WESTERVILLE SOUTH 7 6 0 7 20 OLENTANGY LIBERTY
3 0 20 14 37
OL—Rosselli 19 FG
WS—Bame 57 pass from White (Bame kick)
WS—DeVore 47 pass from White (kick failed)
OL—Wilson 20 pass from Roberts (Rosselli kick)
OL—Wilson 27 pass from Roberts (kick failed)
OL—Rowe 14 run (Rosselli kick)
OL—Barcus 31 pass from Roberts (Rosselli kick)
WS—DeVore 39 pass from White (Bame kick)
OL—Barrett 53 interception return (Rosselli kick)