Alex Contreras threw for a touchdown, ran for another and returned a kickoff to the house to seal the deal late in the fourth quarter as the Buckeye Valley football team all but erased nine years of suffering with a thrilling 26-22 win over host Delaware Hayes Friday night.
Nothing worth anything is easy. The Barons knew they’d have to earn the win if they were to snap their nine-game losing streak at the hands of the Pacers … which is exactly what they did.
“Honestly, this win means everything,” Contreras, a senior, said. “We’ve worked hard all offseason — done some really tough things — but we earned this. We earned this win.”
After a shaky start in which they were called for three procedural penalties over the course of the first two drives, the Barons took off.
BV opened the playbook and the scoring summary late in the first half when quarterback Gabe Gregg threw a backward pass to Jake Smothers on the left sideline. Smothers then found a wide-open Brady Ridder in the end zone to make it a 6-0 game.
The Barons made a 12-0 on their next possession as Contreras wound up with the ball after a double reverse before finding Tanner Domyanich for a 48-yard scoring strike with 10:20 to play in the second quarter.
Contreras did it again just before the break, this time using his legs to score from six yards out. Alex Landis tacked on the ensuing point-after attempt to cap a 19-0 run and give BV a three-possession lead heading into halftime.
The Pacers, who managed next to nothing on offense over the course of the first half, answered back in a big way in the second, scoring 22 unanswered points to take a brief lead.
After Sawyer Sand blocked a BV punt, setting his team up first-and-goal at the three, Sand powered into the end zone on the first play of the ensuing series to cut the gap to 19-7.
After the Pacer defense forced an interception on the first play of the fourth quarter, QB Austin Dowell turned the miscue into points in a hurry. He hit Xavier Weaver for a quick strike to the doorstep before plowing into the end zone from three yards out to tighten things up even more, 19-14 with 10:52 left.
After a stop, needing a big drive to stay alive, Hayes got exactly that. Dowell hit Armon Weaver for a good gain to the 32 and, after back-to-back Dowell runs moved the ball into BV territory, Elijah Burton found some room to the 15 with a nice run.
Things got dicey after that, but, with the Pacers facing a fourth-and-five from the Baron nine-yard line, Dowell connected with Armon Weaver for a touchdown that put his team up 20-19 with 2:10 left.
A two-point conversion to an open Kaden Gannon made it a three-point game, but BV had one more trick up its sleeve as Contreras fielded the ensuing kickoff around the 20, found a seam and sprinted into the end zone for what turned out to be the game-winning score.
Hayes got the ball back with just under two minutes to play, but couldn’t pick up much as the Barons held on for the win.
Also: Steubenville 22, Olentangy Liberty 7; Hilliard Darby 17, Olentangy Orange 0; Westerville South 29, Olentangy 17.