Golden Eagles drop finale


Big Walnut lost the field position battle early and dug itself a 28-0 hole before falling 38-6 to Canal Winchester in its season-finale Friday night in Sunbury.

The Golden Eagles clinched a share of the OCC-Capital crown last week and could have clinched it outright with a win Friday. Thanks to New Albany’s season-ending win over Groveport, though, the two teams split the title.

Dominick Davis started the scoring for Canal (6-4, 3-2) with a 29-yard touchdown run on the first drive.

Jack Beeler threw touchdown passes of 51 and 12 yards to DeShawn Williams and Stanton Smith, respectively, as Canal started at its own 45, 44 and BW’s 36 on its first three drives. Canal led 14-0 at the end of the first.

Tanner Conley broke a 63-yard run down the left sideline on Canal’s first play of its fourth possession – its worst field position to that point.

Big Walnut’s Andy VanHouton broke runs of 36- and 25-yards on the ensuing possession. That set up a Nathan Lawyer 2-yard run with 4:18 left in the half to get the Eagles (4-6, 4-1) on the board.

Beeler added a 14-yard run in the third quarter and Trevor Thompson booted a 32-yard field goal in the fourth to round out the scoring.

Buckeye Valley 44, Galion 14

Trent Davies broke the single season school rushing record, piling up 282 yards when all was said and done to lead the Barons to a lopsided season-ending win over host Galion Friday night.

“He’s a workhorse,” BV coach Matt Stephens said. “He needed 104 yards to break the record and I think he had that in the first quarter alone.”

The Baron (7-3, 5-2) defense got it done, too. The unit forced a safety late and Joey Verdes returned an interception for a touchdown for the second straight game.

“It’s always nice to end the season with a win,” Stephens said. “It’s great for the seniors and gives the younger guys some momentum heading into the offseason.”

Olentangy Liberty 35, Westerville North 8

The Patriots took care of business Friday, cruising past the visiting Warriors to secure an outright OCC-Buckeye championship and all but solidify a home game in the first round of the OHSAA playoffs.

Liberty (8-2, 5-0) scored touchdowns in each of the first two quarters to take a 14-0 lead at the break. Matt Webb scored from six yards out with 5:49 left in the first and Mitchell Okuley hit Ben Roderick for a 15-yard scoring strike with 10:27 left in the second.

A 14-point third ballooned the lead to 28-0 — Okuley fired TD passes of 10 and 28 yards to Jake Sincek and Roderick, respectively — and Aiden Kenley scored on a one-yard run midway through the fourth to make it a 35-0 game.

Westerville North (2-8, 0-5) capped the scoring when Bodi Bien scored on a 70-yard touchdown run and Auri Dover punched in the ensuing two-point conversion.

Okuley completed 15 of his 27 passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns while Webb had 131 yards rushing on 19 attempts.

Olentangy Orange 35, Westerville South 7

Jack Applegate rushed for 77 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Pioneers to a lopsided win in Friday’s season finale against the host Wildcats.

His first two came as part of a 14-0 first quarter. He scored from a yard out to make it 7-0 less than three minutes into the action and powered it in from four yards out with a minute left in the frame.

Graham Starn scored a four-yard touchdown to make it 21-0 midway through the second and Orange (9-1, 4-1) rolled from there.

Mark Roberts had a 72-yard touchdown run early in the fourth to account for the final margin.

A 37-yard TD pass from Max Barber to Michael McLemore was the only blemish on the Pioneer defense’s otherwise stellar night.

Olentangy 35, Westerville Central 31

Caden Kaiser’s 26-yard touchdown reception with 1:21 left in the game gave host Olentangy a victory in a back-and-forth matchup against Westerville Central to wrap up the regular season and a probable playoff berth.

Ali Iverson and Jaden Konadu scored two touchdowns apiece on the ground to lead Olentangy (7-3, 3-2) to an OCC-Buckeye win Friday night in Lewis Center.

Ashton Gilkey caught a 50-yard touchdown pass and returned a punt 84 yards for another score to lead the Warhawks (4-6, 2-3).

Hilliard Bradley 35, Delaware Hayes 7

The Jaguars started fast and never looked back, using a trio of first-quarter touchdowns to parlay an early 21-0 lead into an OCC win over the Pacers Friday in Delaware.

Bradley (10-0, 6-0), No. 3 in the most recent OHSAA Region 3 computer rankings, led 35-0 at halftime.

Hayes (3-7, 1-5), meanwhile, ended the season with something to feel good about, smoothing out the scoring summary when Isaiah Moore found the end zone from 21 yards out with 6:09 to play.

Big Walnut’s Eli Myers (22) slips the tackle of Canal Winchester’s Zach Akarri during the first half of Friday’s OCC showdown in Sunbury. Walnut’s Eli Myers (22) slips the tackle of Canal Winchester’s Zach Akarri during the first half of Friday’s OCC showdown in Sunbury. Ben Stroup | Gazette
Barons, Patriots, Pioneers, Braves all win

Gazette Staff

Gazette sports editor Ben Stroup and reporter Michael Rich contributed to this report.

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