The Olentangy Berlin football team beat Hilliard Davidson at its own game Friday night in Delaware, controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball en route to a 20-14 win to smooth out the non-league portion of the schedule.
The Bears didn’t give up a single first down in the first quarter and kept the Wildcats off the board until a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns with the game all but wrapped up.
“It really wasn’t anything special that we did … we knew they were a physical football team and we were going to have to match that physicality,” Berlin coach Mark Nori said. “We shifted some guys around and made sure they were filling the right holes and stuff, but the bottom line is (Davidson) has a powerful offense and a powerful back to run it and, if we don’t play physical, we lose.”
Fortunately for the Bears, physicality wasn’t a problem.
After the defense forced two straight three-and-outs right out of the gate, the offense took over around midfield. A few plays later, quarterback Harrison Brewster found Aidan Sills for a 40-yard touchdown. Spencer Conrad’s extra point made it a 7-0 game with 59 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Davidson converted a fourth-and-one from its own 30-yard line with a tough run from Keevin Gibbon — its first first down of the game — then moved the ball to midfield with a connection between quarterback Johnny DiBlasio and tight end Drew Remlinger, but couldn’t answer Berlin’s touchdown with points of its own as Andrew Lewis missed a 39-yard field goal midway through the second.
Berlin made the empty trip hurt later in the quarter, too, doubling its lead when Brewster powered into the end zone from two yards out with 1:11 left in the half. Arend Bennett set up the score, returning an interception 60-plus yards to the Davidson three.
The 14-0 halftime spread held up until the fourth, when Berlin (4-1) made it a three-score game with a 47-yard field goal off the foot of Conrad.
The Wildcats (4-1) scored a couple fourth-quarter touchdowns to make things interesting — Gibbons scored from a yard out and Remlinger added the two-point conversion to make it 17-8 with 5:33 left — but the Bears didn’t flinch.
Berlin answered the touchdown with another Conrad field goal, this time from 34 yards out with 1:32 left, to all but seal the deal.
The final scoring play of the night came on the last play of the game, when Johnny DiBlasio found Josh DiBlasio open in the end zone for an 18-yard TD to smooth out the scoring summary.
The Bears have now won four straight after starting the season with a 20-13 loss at Hilliard Bradley. They’ll host another undefeated team, 5-0 Olentangy, in next week’s OCC-Cardinal Division opener.
“It doesn’t matter who we play in the OCC … they’re all tough,” Nori said. “Every week it’s something different — different defense, different style of offense — everybody keeps you one your toes.”
Also: Olentangy Liberty 17, New Albany 3; Westerville South 22, Big Walnut 7; Olentangy 35, Central Crossing 0; Olentangy Orange 42, Newark 13; Buckeye Valley 49, Fairview 33.