Golden Eagles pour it on late, win 56-28

By Sean Blevins - For the Gazette

The Big Walnut football team came away with a 56-28 win on the road in Worthington on Friday night, but it wasn’t as easy as the final score suggests.

Worthington Kilbourne picked up a couple first downs on its first drive, but stumbled after crossing midfield. Big Walnut senior lineman Christian Takach got a crucial 3-yard tackle for loss, which allowed the Golden Eagle defense to get off the field.

Junior receiver Nicky Pentello then took a screen pass for 51 yards on Big Walnut’s first play of the game. Sophomore quarterback Jake Nier found Pentello again a few plays later on a jump ball in the end zone for an 8-yard score, giving the Golden Eagles the early 7-0 lead with 7:20 left in the first quarter.

“Pentello is always making plays for us,” Big Walnut coach Rob Page said. “Whether that’s on the ground or through the air we can always count on him.”

Big Walnut would get the ball again with a short field less than two minutes later after forcing another punt. It didn’t take long for the Eagles to strike as sophomore running back Nate Severs got on the board with a 1-yard rushing TD to put BW up 14-0 with 2:54 left in the first.

Kilbourne’s offense looked a lot more composed on its third drive, and it cut the Big Walnut lead to 14-7 on a 7-yard rushing TD up the middle by senior RB Justin Allen.

Severs returned the ensuing kickoff to the opposing 49, giving the Golden Eagles another short field to work with.

Pentello then took the snap on first down out of the wildcat for a 32-yard gain. A few plays later, Severs would take a screen 17 yards to the house for his second score of the game.

With 1:19 left in the first half, Nier was intercepted on an out route that got jumped and Kilbourne had the ball at the BW 30-yard line.

Kilbourne junior running back JJ Calip used his speed to get to the edge and scored from 10 yards out to make it a 21-14 game at the half.

On its opening drive of the second half, Big Walnut went right back to the wildcat … and it worked. Pentello picked up a first down on back-to-back carries to get the Eagles onto the other side of the field. The Golden Eagles proceeded to dial up another screen pass after that, and Pentello used his vision and acceleration to get through the Wolves defense for a 28-yard score to make it a 28-14 game with 7:38 left in the third quarter.

Kilbourne went right down the field and answered with a score of its own as Ashton Selph was left wide open. The Wolves came within one score again, 28-21, and they also forced a Big Walnut punt on the next drive.

Kilbourne was unable to capitalize and Big Walnut took over near midfield again with the chance to blow the game open. The Golden Eagles got down to the opposing 30, then turned the ball over on downs after Severs was stuffed for a 1-yard loss on a 4th-and-3 run up the middle.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Calip broke through the Big Walnut defense untouched for a 76-yard rushing TD to tie the game up at 28.

Kilbourne tried to do an onside kick on the next play but was penalized after a player touched the ball before it went 10 yards. Big Walnut yet again took over with great field position, this time from the opposing 48.

Severs put the Golden Eagles back on top with a 24-yard score. Big Walnut went up 35-28 with 9:17 left in the game.

BW forced a 3-and-out, then blocked the Kilbourne punt and took up shop at the 20-yardline.

Severs converted a fourth-and-two and then the Golden Eagles found the end zone shortly after on an 8-yard passing TD by Nier. Big Walnut had its most comfortable lead of the night as it went up 42-28 with 4:42 left in the fourth quarter.

BW senior Dom Salazar intercepted Kilbourne QB Nash Biglin with 3:58 left.

Nier got another passing TD, this one to senior tight end Roy Roberto, to effectively close the door on Kilbourne’s comeback chances. Big Walnut went up 49-28 with 3:50 left in the game.

BW sophomore Garrett Stover added his name to the scoring summary with a 1-yard rushing TD after taking a handoff 50 yards.

Big Walnut improved to 7-0 with the win and will welcome Westerville North to Sunbury next Friday. The Golden Eagles will look to finish their quest for an undefeated regular season with a home game against Dublin Scioto and then a game at Canal Winchester.

By Sean Blevins

For the Gazette