Big Walnut slows down South


Improves to 5-0 with 38-7 win

By Sean Blevins - For the Gazette



Big Walnut’s Dom Salazar and Nicky Pentello (2) defend Westerville South receiver Javi’er Wills during the first half of Friday’s OCC-Capital Division clash in Sunbury. Pentello nearly came down with an interception on the play.

Big Walnut’s Dom Salazar and Nicky Pentello (2) defend Westerville South receiver Javi’er Wills during the first half of Friday’s OCC-Capital Division clash in Sunbury. Pentello nearly came down with an interception on the play.


Ben Stroup | The Gazette

The Big Walnut football team made a statement on Friday night in Sunbury, drubbing visiting Westerville South 38-7 in OCC-Capital action.

The highly-anticipated matchup between two of the better teams in Division II had no shortage of exciting plays. Big Walnut, which improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in league play, looked dominant in what was supposed to be its toughest test so far this season. Westerville South was no match for the Eagles, though.

“Everything for us starts up front and everything starts with our offensive line coach, Paul Hardin,” Big Walnut coach Rob Page said. “He does a phenomenal job building continuity and physicality with our offensive line. It was a collective win. I couldn’t be prouder of our guys. We are a growth-mindset program.”

On the opening kickoff, Westerville South kicked it to an open area near the Big Walnut 30-yard line and its coverage team was able to recover the ball, giving it stellar field position to start the game.

Two plays after the kickoff mishap, though, Big Walnut’s Garrett Stover intercepted Westerville South quarterback Latrelle Palmer in his own endzone.

Big Walnut went right down the field with a few chunk plays, then scored its first touchdown of the night on a 33-yard, late-developing wheel route by Nate Severs. The pass by sophomore QB Jake Nier sailed right over the cornerback’s fingertips and Severs ran in unimpeded. That put the Golden Eagles up 7-0 with 5:47 left in the first quarter.

On its next drive, Westerville South senior receiver Kaden Saunders fielded a snap out of a punt formation on a long fourth down, but only gained three yards and fell short of the first down marker, giving the Golden Eagles the ball deep in opposing territory.

Big Walnut scored three plays later on a 1-yard rushing TD by Severs, giving him his second score of the game and ballooning the edge to 14-0 with 3:21 left in the first quarter.

The Eagles stopped the Wildcats again on their next possession and kept their foot on the gas pedal. A few plays later, Severs broke through the South defense for a 64-yard score to put his team up 21-0 with seven minutes left in the first half.

The Wildcats finally got on the scoreboard with a 37-yard rushing TD by senior Brandon Armstrong, cutting the Big Walnut lead to 21-7 with three minutes left in the half.

Big Walnut was able to add a 30-yard field goal to its tally by the end the half, giving it a 24-7 lead going into the locker room.

BW picked up where it left off on its first drive of the second half. Nier scrambled and found junior receiver Nicky Pentello for an 11-yard TD to expand the Golden Eagle lead to 31-7 with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Severs then made several cuts to get by multiple South defenders on the way to his fourth score of the night, which made it a 38-7 game with 8:41 left.

“He (Severs) is a phenomenal back,” Page said. “If you watched how he practiced, you would not be surprised.”

Severs finished the night with 297 rushing yards, 60 receiving yards and four total touchdowns. He’s approaching 20 touchdowns already, just midway through his first varsity season.

Next up, Big Walnut will welcome Franklin Heights to Sunbury Friday night.

Big Walnut’s Dom Salazar and Nicky Pentello (2) defend Westerville South receiver Javi’er Wills during the first half of Friday’s OCC-Capital Division clash in Sunbury. Pentello nearly came down with an interception on the play.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2021/09/web1_ws6bw42-2.jpgBig Walnut’s Dom Salazar and Nicky Pentello (2) defend Westerville South receiver Javi’er Wills during the first half of Friday’s OCC-Capital Division clash in Sunbury. Pentello nearly came down with an interception on the play. Ben Stroup | The Gazette
Improves to 5-0 with 38-7 win

By Sean Blevins

For the Gazette