Barons edge Rams for 6th straight win


The Buckeye Valley football team got a couple of key interceptions and just enough offense to outlast visiting Whitehall-Yearling for a 14-13 MSL-Ohio win Friday night in Delaware.

The win was the Barons’ (6-3, 5-0) sixth straight, including five in league play. It also sets up a showdown with undefeated Harvest Prep (9-0, 5-0) for the league crown next week in Canal Winchester.

Buckeye Valley’s most productive play of the first half, at least from an offensive standpoint, came on the first series of the game … on defense.

After the Rams (4-5, 2-3) moved the ball to midfield with a steady diet of quarterback runs from Andre Jackson and Elijah Hughes, they decided to switch things up with a pass — a throw the Barons’ Brady Ridder picked off and returned 70-plus yards to the house for a pick six.

Alex Landis added the point-after attempt to give BV a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the action.

The steady defense continued on the next drive, too, as back-to-back tackles for loss by Mitchell Melfe and Tanner Domyanich forced Whitehall into a fourth-and-13 situation at the Buckeye Valley 21 — a conversion the Rams were unable to make as Jackson was forced out of bounds at the 12 with 5:30 left in the first quarter.

BV got out of the shadow of its own end zone when quarterback Nathan Huss hit Garrett Carey for a nice gain on the ensuing series, but a sack by Whitehall’s Ralph Walker Jr. ended the drive before the Barons got much further.

Offense was at a premium for both teams until late in the first half, when the Rams went for another first down in Baron territory. This time, the conversion was successful as Jackson broke through the initial contact around the line of scrimmage and sprinted into the end zone from 36 yards out to even things up with 55.2 seconds left in the half.

Things stayed even at seven until Jackson capped a long drive with a 31-yard TD run. The PAT bounced off the upright as the Rams led 13-7 with 6:31 left in the third.

It was then, down for the first time all night, the Barons put together their best drive of the game. Huss hit Melfe and Domyanich to move the chains on two different third-down plays before a strong run by Garrett Slater set up first and 10 at the Rams’ 19. Huss hit Landon Froehlich for 10 yards to set up first and goal at the nine before Slater capped the drive with a three-yard TD run with 1:41 left in the third. Landis again added the PAT for what proved to be the difference in the game.

After the teams traded punts in the fourth, Whitehall got the ball at its own nine down one with 1:11 left. The Rams didn’t get much further, either, as a Froehlich interception in the final seconds sealed the deal.

Delaware Hayes 10, Canal Winchester 9

The Pacers took a third-quarter lead with a 25-yard field goal off the foot of Cooper Goble and the defense made it hold up en route to a hard-fought OCC-Capital Division win over the host Indians Friday night in Canal Winchester.

Canal (5-4, 3-3) scored all nine of its points in the first quarter, two on a safety and the other seven on a 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Hayes (6-3, 3-3) answered with a 51-yard TD strike from Jake Lowman to Austin Koslow later in the first before Goble’s field goal accounted for the final margin.

Lowman completed 13 of his 26 passes for 213 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Koslow had a team-best four grabs for 117 yards and the touchdown while Kaden Gannon had three receptions for 41 yards.

Jaxson Smith and Sawyer Sand anchored the Pacer defense with one sack apiece.

Olentangy Berlin 24, Marysville 10

The Bears (6-3, 3-1) kept their chances for a league title alive, picking up a key 24-10 OCC-Cardinal Division win over the visiting Monarchs (5-4, 2-2) Friday night in Delaware.

Harrison Brewster accounted for two huge touchdowns in the win. His first, a 15-yard strike to Josh Gavin, gave Berlin a 10-7 lead less than a minute into the second quarter. His second, a 68-yard sprint to the end zone, smoothed out the scoring summary with 6:51 left in the fourth.

Brewster completed 15 of his 23 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 124 yards and a score. Mason Ziegler also scored in the win, powering into the end zone from two yards out to extend his team’s lead in the third.

A win over host Thomas Worthington in Friday’s regular season finale would give Berlin an outright league title.

Olentangy Liberty 21, Hilliard Davidson 18

The Patriots moved into a first-pace tie atop the OCC-Central Division standings with Friday’s win over the visiting Wildcats.

A win in next Friday’s finale against host Olentangy Orange would ensure Liberty (5-4, 3-1) at least a share of the league title.

The Patriots led 21-3 before the Wildcats scored 15 fourth-quarter points to make things interesting.

Jake Struck, who finished with 130 yards rushing and two touchdowns, scored twice in the third quarter, once from 11 yards out and then from one yard out to balloon his team’s lead to 21-3 with 48 seconds left in the third.

Davidson’s Johnny DiBlasio had a couple touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to smooth out the scoring summary.

Hilliard Bradley 27, Olentangy Orange 20

J.J. Calip scored from a yard out to give the Pioneers a one-point lead with 5:32 left, but Bradyn Fleharty hit Preston Wolfe for a 40-yard score less than a minute later to lift the Jaguars to an OCC-Central Division win Friday night in Hilliard.

Calip led Orange on the ground with 88 yards rushing to go with his score.

Also: Olentangy 23, Dublin Jerome 20, OT.

Buckeye Valley’s Mitchell Melfe spins down Whitehall-Yearling quarterback Andre Jackson during the first half of Friday’s MSL-Ohio showdown in Delaware. Valley’s Mitchell Melfe spins down Whitehall-Yearling quarterback Andre Jackson during the first half of Friday’s MSL-Ohio showdown in Delaware. Ben Stroup | The Gazette

By Ben Stroup

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