Lancaster finished with a flourish, scoring three second-half touchdowns to keep things somewhat close, but Olentangy scored at will most of the night en route to a 35-20 non-league win Friday night in Lewis Center.
The Braves dominated for the first three quarters, leading 21-0 at halftime and 28-7 after three.
Olentangy (2-1) broke the scoring seal midway through the first quarter. A few plays after a 15-yard connection between quarterback Ethan Grunkemeyer and tight end Gavin Grover moved the ball to the doorstep of the red zone, Grunkemeyer found Andrew Leech for a six-yard scoring strike. Matthew Tobias added the PAT as the Braves found themselves up 7-0 with 6:46 left in the opening quarter.
The Golden Gales (0-3) followed up the scoring drive with a long kickoff return, but couldn’t do anything with the great field position. After starting at the Braves’ six-yard line, QB Trace Van Gundy was sacked by Jameson Rossler to force a fourth down. Lancaster tried a field goal, but never got the kick off.
The Braves picked up the pace from there, scoring two more TDs in the second quarter before taking a 28-0 lead midway through the third.
Grunkemeyer scored on a keeper up the middle, scampering into the end zone from 35 yards out with 9:42 left in the second, then found Grover open along the sideline for a 20-yard score with 5:22 left in the first half.
The Braves went right back to work in the third, too, turning their first possession into points as Grunkemeyer found Steffan Somers streaking down the sideline for a 36-yard score with 9:32 left in the quarter.
Lancaster answered with its best drive of the night, marching 80 yards — most of it on runs by Brendon Simcox and Xavier Goss — and scored on a five-yard keeper by Van Gundy.
Olentangy had a response of its own, though, taking a 35-7 lead with 7:33 left in the game as Somers powered into the end zone from five yards out.
The Gales mounted a late rally, scoring a pair of TDs in garbage time, but the Braves, who will travel to Olentangy Orange to take on the rival Pioneers next Friday, were in control throughout.
Delaware Hayes 45, Mount Vernon 10
Don’t look now, but the Pacers are 3-0 thanks to a dominant non-league win over the host Yellow Jackets Friday night in Mount Vernon.
Down 3-0 early, Hayes scored three unanswered touchdowns to take control. The first two followed a similar script — both long passes to Austin Koslow. The first was from 65 yards out while the second went for 40. Lowman then hit Wyatt Kirtland for a 15-yard touchdown to make it 21-3 in the second.
The Jackets scored a touchdown before halftime, but Hayes added another of its own before winning the second half 14-0 to punctuate the perfect start.
Lowman completed 12 of his 20 passes for 260 yards and five touchdowns. Two — scoring strikes of 25 and eight yards — went to Kaden Gannon in the second half while Sawyer Sand scored Hayes’ lone rushing touchdown of the game.
Next up, Hayes will open league play against defending champ and 3-0 Big Walnut.
Big Walnut 59, Beechcroft 24
Nate Severs had his best game of the young season, rushing for 215 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Golden Eagles past the visiting Cougars Friday night in Sunbury.
Severs also made some plays through the air. After Nicky Pentello scored from three yards out with 7:46 left in the first quarter, Severs caught a 33-yard TD pass from Jake Nier to give his team a 14-6 edge.
Beechcroft made it 14-12 when DeShawn Henderson hit Khalil Samuel for a 35-yard score with 3:20 left in the first, but Big Walnut (3-0) cruised the rest of the way.
Nier was efficient, completing seven of his nine passes for 106 yards and a TD. Severs carried just 12 times, but made the most of his attempts, averaging 17.9 yards per attempt. His touchdown runs went for 70, 45 and four yards.
Pentello was Nier’s top target, finishing with two receptions for 45 yards.
Beechcroft QB Aurelius Scott finished 20-for-37 for 266 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Ashland 34, Buckeye Valley 16
The Barons fell into an early hole and never quite recovered en route to their third loss to start the season Friday night in Ashland.
Down 21-0, BV got on the board when QB Noah Huss found Wade Carey for a five-yard score. Alex Landis added the PAT to make it a 21-7 game late in the first half.
Ashland scored a touchdown to balloon its lead to 28-7 in the third before the Barons showed some late life. A safety in the third followed by a four-yard TD run by Levi Richards in the fourth sliced the deficit to 28-16, but the Arrows scored another touchdown in the final quarter to pull away for good.
Toledo Central Catholic 40, Olentangy Orange 10
The Pioneers outscored the Fighting Irish 10-7 in the second half, but couldn’t recover from a slow start Friday night in Toledo.
The Irish led 21-0 after the first quarter and 33-0 by the break.
Central Catholic’s Ty’Waun Clark completed eight of his nine passes for 133 yards and two TDs, both to Dur’yea Hall. Chris Edmonds, meanwhile, did the bulk of the damage on the ground, rushing for 105 yards and two scores on 11 carries.
Levi Davis quarterbacked the Pioneer offense, finished 13-for-21 passing for 141 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Drew Dunham was his top target with five grabs for 57 yards.
St. Xavier 46, Olentangy Liberty 21
The Patriots trimmed their deficit to three when Andrew Leonard hit Alex Okuley for a 20-yard TD midway through the third quarter, but the visiting Bombers outscored them 14-0 in the fourth to secure a 46-21 non-league win Friday night in Powell.
Leonard completed 18 of his 32 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with St. Xavier QB Jack O’Malley, who threw for 328 yards and four TDs in the win.