The Olentangy Orange football team’s defense bent a time or two, but never broke during Thursday’s OCC-Buckeye showdown against visiting Westerville Central … especially when it mattered most.
Looking to protect a one-score lead in the game’s final minute, with the Warhawks staring at a first down inside the Pioneer 20-yard line, the D went to work. Evan Leist sacked Central quarterback Judah Holtzclaw for a six-yard loss on second down and, two incompletions later, Orange was celebrating a 14-6 win.
The Warhawks (6-2, 1-2) outgained the Pioneers (7-1, 3-0) 394-267 and ran nearly 30 more offensive plays, but it didn’t matter.
Spencer Hawkins connected with Jake Vanchieri for a three-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter. Jack Behre’s extra point made it 7-0 and, as it turned out, that’s all Orange would need.
Central got to within a point when Holtzclaw hooked up with Luke Swaney for a 29-yard scoring strike with 4:54 left in the second quarter, but a bad snap on the PAT attempt and a missed field goal in the final seconds of the quarter helped Orange take a lead into the break.
The Pioneers made it 14-6 when Vanchieri powered into the end zone from five yards out with 1:55 left in the third.
Hawkins completed 11 of his 23 passes for 154 yards and the TD while Vanchieri had 94 yards on the ground.
Zach Hill anchored the Pioneer defense with a team-best 12 tackles to go with 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss. Josh Laisure also had an interception for the game’s lone takeaway.
Caroline Speelman had a team-best 13 kills and Kassie Bowmar added nine to lead 11th-seeded Big Walnut to a straight-set win over 12th-seeded Dublin Coffman in the second round of the Division I district tournament Thursday in Sunbury.
The Golden Eagles, who advance to Wednesday’s district semifinal against 14th-seeded Grove City — a contest slated for 6 p.m. at Central Crossing — won the first set 25-18 before sealing the deal with wins of 25-19 and 25-21 in the second and third, respectively.
Delaware Christian 3, Northside Christian 0
DCS continued its run through the Division IV district tournament Thursday, rolling past visiting Northside Christian 25-7, 25-9, 25-14.
Lyssi Snouffer led a group of 11 Eagles with at least one kill, finishing with a team-best 12. Erin Bauslaugh had a match-high 13 assists and Grace Willians, who had 11 assists of her own, chipped in six aces.
Next up, DCS will take on 14th-seeded East Knox in Tuesday’s district semifinal at Worthington Christian Middle School.
Olentangy Liberty 3, Mount Vernon 0
Patriot coach Jen Chapman picked up her 300th-career win as her team topped the visiting Yellow Jackets 25-15, 25-9, 25-14 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Thursday in Powell.
Claranne Fechter had a game-best eight kills to go with four blocks, Sydney Novy added 12 digs and seven aces and Logan Flaugh chipped in 26 assists.
With the win, fifth-seeded Liberty will take on 19th-seeded Lancaster in Thursday’s district semifinal at Whitehall-Yearling.
Freshman Haylie Sucharski scored off a feed from Mia Jakubowski late in the first overtime to lead the Olentangy Orange field hockey team to a 1-0 tournament win over host Upper Arlington Thursday night.
With the win, the Pioneers will take on Bishop Watterson in the third round Tuesday at 6 p.m.