Big Walnut won its second game in a row, an exciting 21-14 victory over Franklin Heights on a Homecoming Football Friday Night on Oct. 6.
What made this game great was when Big Walnut (2-5) was confronted with adversity, they let it roll off them. As a result, the defense bent but didn’t break, and the offense came up clutch in fourth quarter.
On its second offensive play, BW fumbled deep in its own territory. However, the defense stopped FH on fourth and goal. The Eagles offense quickly went 93 yards on all rushes for the opening score, with a 2-yard run touchdown by Nathan Lawyer. Tyler Shuster’s extra point made it 7-0 with 4:04 left in the first quarter.
The Golden Falcons had an elusive junior quarterback, Cody Little, who kept FH (3-4) in the game by staying in the pocket to hit receiver Kesean Reeves or back Chris Hampton, ducking oncoming tacklers and throwing the ball away without grounding it. He wasn’t sacked despite some near misses.
However, Heights’ missed a 37-yard field goal attempt in part because Walnut applied pressure on the kick.
The Eagles did a lot of little things right, such as a 58-yard punt by Tyler Ronk, a 30-yard kickoff return by Jackson Seiple, or two kicks by Tim Rumas that went into the end zone, and a fumble recovery by junior Josh Hageman. The latter led to BW’s second score — after a 57-yard run by quarterback John Sutton, Eli Myers ran it in from three yards out. With 5:31 left in the first half, it was 14-0 Big Walnut.
Franklin Heights got on the board with a sneak from a yard out by Little, and Jeromey Romans got the extra point with a little over a minute in the second. At the half, the Eagles led the Falcons 14-7.
However, FH tied it up with a long drive that culminated in another Little sneak from a yard out with 2:34 left in the third quarter. On the ensuing drive, an apparent BW touchdown was ruled a fumble through the end zone, resulting in a touchback for Franklin Heights. After three, it was 14-all.
Penalties and stalled drives took up most of the final quarter, but Big Walnut’s defense made another goal line stand, and the reaction from the bench was as if the team won the state title. With time winding down in the game, BW drove confidently and Ronk hit Myers for a 43-yard touchdown. Next, the swarming defense finally got to Little and got another four-and-out, and BW sat on the ball to end the game. Final score: 21-14.
Amazingly, Franklin Heights had the ball twice as long as Big Walnut, 32:46 to 15:14; had more first downs 20-14; and had more yardage 430-374. Lawyer led BW with 107 yards on 14 attempts; and Ronk had 5 completions in 6 attempts for 133 yards. To top an all-around complete game for BW, the defense had 26 solo tackles, 67 assisted tackles, 3 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception.
New Albany visits Big Walnut on Friday. Both teams are 2-0 in the OCC.