The Olentangy Berlin football team didn’t get rolling until the second half, but once finally did, was able to grind out a tough 28-21 victory over district rival Olentangy on Friday night in Delaware.
Both offenses struggled in the first half as each threw an interception and only put up seven points.
Olentangy picked up two first downs on its first drive of the game before its offense sputtered after committing a few penalties and they ended up punting.
Olentangy Berlin also failed to get anywhere on its first drive. The second, though, was a different story.
The Bears put “backup” sophomore QB Harrison Brewster in on their next drive and it immediately paid dividends. They drove down the field with ease when he came in, and Brewster punched in a 1-yard rushing TD with 11 seconds left in the first quarter, putting Berlin up 7-0.
The Bears have been experimenting all season with a two-QB system, and it has worked in nearly every game. Senior quarterback Dylan Reyes is the go-to guy when they need a pass. Reyes will usually start the game while Brewster handles red zone situations and comes in when they need to move the chains or if their offense needs a jumpstart.
“The first half was a little slow,” Brewster said. “Then we started rolling in the second. It means a lot to be a big part of it and get the seniors this win.”
On the next drive, sophomore Olentangy QB Ethan Grunkenmeyer was picked off by Berlin’s Moses Murphy with 7:45 left in the second quarter.
On the next play, Olentangy’s Ryan Petrone returned the favor and intercepted Berlin. Two interceptions on back-to-back plays brought some much-needed life into the game and energy into both crowds.
That proved to be the spark that the Braves offense needed to get back in the game.
The Olentangy offense picked up multiple long third down conversions and tied things at 7 in the final minute of the first half on a 6-yard passing TD by Grunkenmeyer to sophomore TE Gavin Grover.
Berlin’s Gavin Angell returned the second half’s opening kickoff 89-yards to give the Bears a 14-7 lead.
Olentangy responded with a slow, methodical drive and evened up the score at 14 with a 6-yard passing TD from Grunkenmeyer to senior Bryce Bendick.
The score was knotted at 14 after three quarters.
Berlin drove down into Olentangy territory after equalizer, and Brewster was sacked for a 7-yard loss, putting the ball at the opposing 27. The Bears opted to go for it on 4th-and-14 and Brewster delivered a strike over the middle to the opposing two-yard line. Brewster ran it in on the next play to put Berlin up 21-14 with 8:57 left in the game. It was a series of gutsy calls and many of them worked to perfection.
The Braves tied it up again on their next possession, this time on a 1-yard rushing TD by senior running back Mike Parsio.
Berlin received the ball with 4:26 left in the game with the intention of going down and scoring with little to no time remaining.
But, Brewster took a second-down run 70 yards to the house, breaking multiple tackles and reversing field on the way to the end zone. The Bears went up 28-21 with 3:34 left on the clock.
The Braves then turned the ball over on downs, but were able to force a punt and got the ball back with under a minute left. They were unable to get anywhere, though, and Berlin came away with the tough rivalry win.
Berlin moves to 5-1 and will travel to Hilliard Darby next week. Olentangy is now 2-4 and will host Thomas Worthington next Friday.