The undefeated Olentangy Liberty football team was 1:44 away from staying that way before a lightning delay made it — already up 24-14 on visiting Westerville Central thanks to a pair of second-half touchdowns — wait a little longer.
The wait was worth it, though, as the Patriots did indeed get the job done by the same 10-point margin to improve to 6-0 overall and 1-0 in league play Friday in Powell.
Sophomore quarterback Mitchell Okuley hit Johnny Wiseman for an 18-yard touchdown to make it 17-7 late in the third and, after a Central (1-5, 0-1 OCC) touchdown made it a one-possession game, Griffin Hughes scored on an 81-yard kickoff return with 11:31 left in the fourth to smooth out the scoring summary.
Liberty struck first when Okuley scrambled into the end zone from five yards out with 7:19 left in the first quarter. A 32-yard field goal off the foot of A.J. Smith ballooned the edge to 10-0 early in the second before the Warhawks’ Winston Milton broke free for a 58-yard touchdown run with 9:18 left in the half.
Turnovers prevented the Patriots from running away with things. They had four, two in the red zone, but they certainly didn’t have any trouble moving the ball, finishing with 418 yards of total offense.
Okuley completed 18 of his 27 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions.
Matt Webb, meanwhile, led all rushers with 32 carries covering 130 yards while Ben Rinsma was the Patriots’ leading receiver with four receptions for 58 yards. Jacob Sincek was also solid, closing with three grabs for 52 yards.
Liberty takes its show on the road this week, set to play host Westerville South Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Worthington Kilbourne 28, Hayes 6
The Pacers (3-3, 0-2 OCC) couldn’t get much going offensively until the final seconds of the game, when Kael Gannon found Derrick Buford from 11 yards out for their first points of the night.
By then it was too late.
The Wolves (5-1, 2-0 OCC) scored a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter and two more in the third to notch a league win Friday in Delaware.
Kilbourne, which outgained Hayes 279-198, broke the scoring seal when Michael McQuade ran into the end zone from two yards out with 1:55 left in the first quarter.
Grayson Timms caught a 21-yard scoring strike from quarterback Josh Stewart later in the quarter to make it 14-0 and, after a scoreless second quarter, McQuade scored on runs of three and 10 yards to balloon the edge to 28-0 by the end of the third quarter.
Stewart completed six of his 13 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown while McQuade carried the ball 20 times for 99 yards and the three scores.
Gannon completed seven of his 16 passes for the Pacers. He finished with the one touchdown and two interceptions.
The sophomore also led Hayes in rushing, finishing with 16 carries for 67 yards, while Buford finished with six receptions for 106 yards and his score.
Next up, Hayes looks to get back on track against visiting Dublin Jerome Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Olentangy 31, Westerville South 0
Connor Haag hit Sam Durst to turn a fourth-down play into a touchdown with 7:33 left in the first quarter and the Braves (5-1, 1-0 OCC) never looked back, rolling to a win over the visiting Wildcats (0-6, 0-1 OCC) in Friday’s league opener in Lewis Center.
A five-yard TD run by Ali Iverson made it 14-0 with 3:20 left in the first and, after a huge connection between Haag and Nathan Riedel, a field goal made it 17-0 early in the second.
Haag and Riedel combined for a touchdown connection with less than a minute left in the first half and a Konadu TD run from four yards out made it a running clock the rest of the way.
Olentangy returns to action Friday against host Orange. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Newark 31, Big Walnut 17
David Hunt powered into the end zone from 14 yards out on Big Walnut’s (1-5, 0-1 OCC) opening drive of the game, but the visiting Wildcats scored 17 unanswered points to create some separation on the way to a league win Friday in Sunbury.
Newark (4-2, 1-0 OCC) quarterback Kaleb Jarrett found Ashton Gilkey for a six-yard TD to tie the game with 4:57 left in the first quarter before a screen pass to D’ante Woods went 76 yards for a touchdown three minutes later.
After a Wildcat field goal made it 17-7, Hunt scored on a 28-yard run midway through the quarter and Tyler Shuster connected on a short field goal set up by a Newark fumble inside the 10-yard line to even things 17-all at halftime.
The Wildcats owned the second half, though, scoring a pair of touchdowns to account for the final margin.
Next up, Big Walnut will take on host Franklin Heights Friday in Columbus. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.