A Ronk-to-Ronk connection proved to be the difference as quarterback Tyler Ronk hit the team’s other Ronk, also named Tyler, in the end zone from 11 yards out to lead Big Walnut to its first win of the season — a 24-17 non-league victory over visiting Westerville South Friday in Sunbury.
The TD made it a 22-17 game late in the fourth. Evan Garcia ran in the ensuing two-point conversion to account for the final margin.
After a scoreless first, Big Walnut got on the board when Ronk hit Garcia for a six-yard touchdown on a fourth down with 11:15 left in the second quarter.
The Wildcats bounced back with a 42-yard field goal off the foot of Corbin Willison three minutes later, but the Golden Eagles ballooned their edge to six, 9-3, when a bad snap on a punt from the end zone sailed over South punter Brad Robbins’ head and out of play for a safety.
Big Walnut, up by that same 9-3 score at halftime, added to the lead early in the third quarter when David Hunt sprinted up the middle and into the end zone from 71 yards out with 8:06 left. The PAT made it 16-3.
South finally got going when Trent Burke threw a short pass receiver Rashan Gordon turned into a 69-yard TD with 6:29 left in the third.
The Wildcats took the lead when Dominique Long scored on a punt return to make it a 17-16 game with 4:06 left in the third.
South had the ball with a chance to tie in the game’s final minutes, but a BW fumble recovery all but ended things.
Orange 35, Newark 7
The Pioneers got the ground game in gear Friday, rushing for 253 yards on the way to a convincing non-league win over the host Wildcats.
Orange quarterback J.D. Dayhuff, who finished with two rushing touchdowns in the win, scored his first from nine yards out with 8:48 left in the second quarter.
Dayhuff, who also got it done through the air — completing nine of his 12 passes for 181 yards and two scores — made it 14-0 when he found Sam Almond in the end zone from 16 yards out with 2:58 left in the first half.
Newark cut the deficit in half when Kaleb Jarrett ran in from two yards out early in the third, but Orange blanked the hosts the rest of the way.
Dayhuff scored on a 10-yard run midway through the third and hit Almond for a 47-yard TD early in the fourth before Graham Starn, who ran for a game-high 191 yards, smoothed out the scoring summary with a 64-yard run at the 7:15 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Pioneer defense did its job, too, allowing just 47 yards on the ground. Bryce Houston led the way with a team-best 7.5 tackles while T.J. Coates and Zach Harrison added sacks.