By Michael Rich
What a difference a couple weeks make.
Two weeks ago, Olentangy was tangled in a three-way tie for first place in the OCC-Capital football standings. Now, thanks to lopsided wins over New Albany and Worthington Kilbourne, the latter a dominant 41-7 rout over the Wolves Thursday night, the Braves are alone in first place.
Cam Kennedy scored two first-half touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, to lead Olentangy (7-1, 5-0) to a 24-0 score at halftime. He finished with 140 yards on 25 carries and added 66 yards receiving on five catches.
Deeb Haber threw for 239 yards and four touchdowns and Jacob O’Donnell caught five passes for 129 yards and two second-half touchdowns to lead the offense.
The Braves outscored New Albany by that same score in the second half last week.
Olentangy’s defense held Kilbourne (7-1, 4-1) to -17 yards rushing in the first half and -11 for the game on the heels of holding New Albany scoreless on 33 total yards in the second half a week ago.
They also forced four turnovers, including three interceptions — two by Seth O’Neal and the other by Thomas Beckman. Jacob Fleck recovered a fumble as well.
Olentangy went right down the field on its first drive. Haber found his favorite target, O’Donnell, on consecutive passes to push the ball to the Kilbourne 5-yard line.
Haber, still nursing an ankle injury, was replaced by Seth O’Neal to give Olentangy a more mobile quarterback.
Kilbourne’s defense stuffed the Braves on three consecutive plays before Haber returned and found O’Neal on the left side for a 3-yard touchdown to put Olentangy up 7-0 three minutes and 15 seconds into the game.
The Wolves came right back. Quarterback Mike Bell-Wheelwright connected with Josh Stoner on a 56-yard catch and run down to the Olentangy 22. The defense stood tall, though, and Stoner missed a 44-yard field goal.
Bell-Wheelwright finished 5-for-16 for 96 yards and Stoner had 74 of those yards on four catches to lead the Wolves.
Kennedy opened the ensuing drive with a 32-yard run and later had a run of 12 yards. Also, Haber completed a 22-yard pass to O’Donnell, but the drive stalled and Olentangy settled for a Jacob Bell 26-yard field goal to lead 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Olentangy continued its offensive success on its next possession. O’Neal had a 10-yard run and Kennedy followed with a carry for 17.
Haber connected with Obi Anunike on an 18-yard pass to set up Kennedy’s first touchdown — a 5-yard run — and Olentangy led 17-0 just 25 seconds into the second quarter.
Kennedy’s second touchdown came just before the half. Haber pump-faked and connected with him on the left goal line for a 12-yard pass with 3:08 left in the half to make it 24-0.
Stoner scored Kilbourne’s only touchdown on a school-record 93-yard punt return for a touchdown with 7:53 left in the third quarter, but that was their only ray of sunshine on an otherwise dismal game.
Olentangy blew it open when Haber and O’Donnell connected for touchdowns on consecutive possessions, one for 29 yards and the other for 41, to make it 38-7 after three quarters.
Bell added a 41-yard field goal in the fourth for the final margin.
Olentangy gets an extra day of rest before it hosts Mount Vernon a week from Friday.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.