DUBLIN — Another prolific performance by running back Nate Severs was more than enough for the Big Walnut football team on Friday evening as it breezed to a 41-7 win over Dublin Scioto to improve to 8-1 on the season.
Severs rushed 17 times for 194 yards and four touchdowns on the night, and quarterback Jake Nier added a 2-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Norrod as Big Walnut controlled the game from start to finish.
Scioto quarterback Byson Arthur accounted for 199 total yards and a passing touchdown to lead his team, but several missed throws doomed the offense as the vaunted Big Walnut rushing attack steadily pulled away from the overmatched Irish.
Following the game, Severs gave all the credit for his performance to the offensive line, saying, “We struggled a little bit in the beginning, but our offensive line wins the games. Whatever I do, it comes from them, and I couldn’t be more proud of the guys.”
Severs added, “I’m so proud that we don’t do that, we don’t play down to our opponent. We’re always striving to play up to our best potential, and I’m just so happy I’m a part of this team.”
Big Walnut was in business right from the opening kickoff as Nicky Pentello’s return to the Scioto 43 gave his offense prime field position to begin the evening.
Severs capped off the nine-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown, his first of the game, and Big Walnut took an early 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the first quarter.
In a quick hole, Arthur engineered a quick response on the ensuing drive to level the score for Scioto. Arthur’s 11-yard keeper moved the ball into Big Walnut territory, and he later found Drew Baughman for a 12-yard touchdown strike to tie the score at 7-7 with 3:50 remaining in the opening quarter.
Scioto simply didn’t have an answer for Severs, however, and his 55-yard scamper on the second play of the ensuing drive had Big Walnut threatening to recapture the lead in a hurry. Nier tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass two plays later for a 14-7 lead, and the Golden Eagles never looked back from there.
Severs added his second score of the half on an 11-yard touchdown run three plays into the second quarter, and his 60-yard scoring scamper with 4:57 remaining in the half served as the knockout blow as Big Walnut opened up a 28-7 lead.
Severs’ 154 rushing yards in the first half were just a single yard shy of matching Scioto’s total offensive output through two quarters as Big Walnut took a commanding lead into the break.
In desperate need of points to begin the second half, Scioto received the opening kickoff and elected to keep its offense on the field on fourth down from its own 41. Running back Nakoda Densel was met by Big Walnut linebacker Garrett Stover short of the line to gain, however, and the Big Walnut offense was once again set up with prime field position to begin a half following the turnover on downs.
Severs broke through once more on the first play of the next possession for Big Walnut, outrunning a host of Scioto defenders for a 42-yard touchdown run and a 35-7 lead three minutes into the third quarter.
The scoring came to a halt following Severs’ final score as Big Walnut cruised to the finish line, content to trade stops with the ineffective Scioto offense en route to its eighth win.
Big Walnut head coach Rob Page said of his team’s effort, “I think we played extremely hard. Nate Severs did what Nate Severs does. He’s an elite back. He continues to have great practices, and the offensive line did a great job. When he gets into the second and third level untouched, it’s going to be really ugly (for the defense).”
Page credited Scioto for being a better team than their record or the final score may indicate, and he was proud that his team was the toughest on the field.
“At the end of the day, the toughest team wins. That’s how it is in football,” he said.
With playoff football now firmly in the picture, Big Walnut will close out its regular season next Friday when Canal Winchester (5-4) travels to Sunbury. As the Eagles prepare for the postseason, Page said his team won’t get caught looking ahead to next week, however.
“We don’t change our approach to how we play,” he said. “We’re going to practice hard and prepare the same way no matter who we’re playing. We believe in our process, and we’re going to keep on attacking.”