Braves roll in season-opening win

The Olentangy football team took some time to get going, but once it did, well, it didn’t take its foot off the gas.

Blake Sawicki drilled a 37-yard field goal to put Hilliard Darby on top 10-0 after the first quarter, but the Braves scored a combined 45 points in the final three to roll to a 45-24 season-opening win Friday in Lewis Center.

Ali Iverson, who had four touchdowns in the win, got Olentangy on the board with a 1-yard TD run, then scored from 24-yards out after a Darby touchdown to make it a 17-14 game with 2:24 left in the half.

Jamir Benton recovered a fumble on the Panthers’ next possession, setting the Braves’ offense up inside the Darby 15. It delivered, too, as quarterback Riley Bruening scampered in from five yards out to give Olentangy its first lead of the game, 21-17 with 52 seconds until halftime.

The Braves added on in the second half. Bruening scored again, this time from four yards out, to balloon the advantage to 28-17 midway through the third. Iverson scored his third TD of the game five minutes later and, after a bad snap on a Darby punt set up a first and goal, scored his fourth of the night to cap a 35-0 Olentangy run.

Josh Petrone booted a 27-yard field goal to make it 45-17 with 4:34 to go, smoothing out the Braves’ scoring summary.

Olentangy (1-0) returns to action Friday against host Grove City.

Orange 32, Worthington Kilbourne 7

Talk about starting off with a bang.

The Pioneers opened the season in style, racing out to a 29-0 lead by halftime en route to Friday’s lopsided season-opening win over the host Wolves.

Graham Starn got Orange (1-0) on the board with a 39-yard touchdown run less than five minutes into the game. The defense got in on the act several minutes later, forcing a safety to bump the margin to 9-0 with 2:43 left in the first.

The Pioneers were just getting warmed up.

Luke Schmeling found Manny Anderson from 43 yards out late in the first, making it a 16-0 game, then hit Zach Harrison for a 12-yard scoring strike with 6:23 left in the half.

Schmeling used his legs to punch in the Pioneers’ final TD of the night, scoring on a six-yard run with 1:07 left in the half.

A 31-yard field goal by Grant Simon midway through the third quarter put a lid on Orange’s solid opener.

Next up, the Pioneers travel to Watterson Friday night.

Liberty 49, St. Joseph’s 14

The Patriots used a 28-point second quarter to create some separation on the way to a convincing win in their opener Friday night in Powell.

Mitchell Okuley found Ben Roderick in the end zone three times, twice in the first half. He finished with five TD passes in the win.

Matthew Webb and Dylan Stevens had touchdown runs while Nick Paolo and Jake Sincek were on the receiving end of the other two touchdown strikes from Okuley.

Okuley completed 16 of his 25 passed for 249 yards and the five TDs. Webb was the team’s leading rusher, finishing with 14 carries for 67 yards, and Mitchell Kershner hauled in four grabs for 98 yards.

The Patriots (1-0) racked up 418 yards of total offense in the win. They’ll return to action Friday against visiting Huber Heights Wayne.

Also: Johnstown-Monroe 3, Big Walnut 0.

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Olentangy quarterback Riley Bruening finds the end zone during the third quarter of Friday’s season opener against visiting Hilliard Darby. quarterback Riley Bruening finds the end zone during the third quarter of Friday’s season opener against visiting Hilliard Darby. Ben Stroup | Gazette

Staff Report