The Big Walnut football team opened up a 21-0 lead over St. Charles in the first half and never looked back on the way to a 41-0 season-opening win Friday night in Sunbury.
The Golden Eagles capitalized on early Cardinal miscues, turning two first-half turnovers into touchdowns.
“Our community has wanted this for two years,” Big Walnut head coach Rob Page said. “I’m so excited to share this victory with our players, our fans and the Sunbury community because it’s a special place.”
The Cardinals fumbled the QB-RB handoff exchange on their first play of the season, which gave Big Walnut excellent field position. The Golden Eagles scored a few plays later on a 30-yard play-action route by junior Nicky Pentello, who transferred to BW from Desales. Big Walnut went up 7-0 with 7:47 left in the first quarter.
On the Eagles’ next possession, Pentello caught a 22-yard TD on a back-shoulder throw from sophomore QB Jake Nier for his second score of the evening. That put Big Walnut up 14-0 with 2:33 left in the first quarter.
Big Walnut’s offense kept humming and added another score on a 2-yard TD carry by sophomore Garrett Stover to make it a 21-0 game with over nine minutes left to play in the second quarter.
St. Charles botched its second handoff exchange after that before Big Walnut ended up converting a fake punt near the end of the first half, picking up 15 yards on the run by the punter. The Eagles drove down inside the red zone, but failed to put any points on the board as they opted to not attempt the field goal. Instead, the pass got broken up in the end zone to end the first half.
Page was very satisfied with how his team played on both ends, but stressed that they have some things that they need clean up in the next day’s practice.
“We played really hard and with effort. I was impressed with how our starters executed,” he said. “We were physical and won the line of scrimmage.”
With 1:18 left in the third quarter, Stover broke free from the Cardinal defense for a 59-yard touchdown up the right sideline. The Golden Eagles went up 29-0 after converting the ensuing two-point conversion.
Big Walnut senior Jordy Barrera punched in a one-yard score to extend the lead to 35-0 with 7:08 in the fourth quarter, which set up the running clock for the rest of the game.
Barrera scored his second touchdown of the night as he ran through the Cardinal defense on a 25-yard score to put the Golden Eagles up 41-0 and smooth out the scoring summary.