Newark stops Big Walnut 31-17

By Gary Budzak -

Big Walnut played evenly with Newark for a half before falling to the Wildcats 31-17 in a rainy home game on Friday night.

Things looked promising as Big Walnut put together a nice, time-consuming opening drive to start the game. David Hunt sprinted in for a 14-yard touchdown to give the Golden Eagles an early lead, with Tyler Shuster tacking on the extra point. However, Newark responded four minutes later when quarterback Kaleb Jarrett connected on a 6-yard pass to wide receiver Ashton Gilkey in the end zone, and Jed Quackenbush converted for a 7-7 tie. Then with little over a minute to go in the first quarter, Jarrett threw a short screen pass to running back D’ante Woods, who scampered 76 yards for a touchdown. Newark was now up 14-7 after one.

Quackenbush, who booted several kickoffs into the end zone, hit a 35-yard field goal to put Newark up 17-7 midway through the second quarter. However, Hunt took the next kickoff 62 yards up the field. He later ran through a big hole up the middle 28 yards to complete the scoring drive. The extra point made it 17-14 with just over 7 minutes in the half. As time was running out, a fumbled snap on the punt gave the Eagles the ball on the Wildcat 8. Shuster’s field goal tied the game to end the half.

Newark’s defensive standout Chase Richardson intercepted quarterback Tyler H. Ronk, leading to another Woods touchdown, this time from two yards out. Newark was up for good, 24-17 with just under 7 minutes in the third quarter.

Unfortunately, the rain resumed in the fourth quarter, and the field got slipperier and soggier. A Big Walnut penalty of roughing punter Quackenbush led to Woods’ third touchdown, this time a 42-yard dash. With 4 minutes to go, it was Newark 31-17. Big Walnut threatened to score on the following drive, but Ronk got his bell rung near the goal line, and his replacement threw incompletions to turn the ball over on downs.

Newark improved to 4-2, and Big Walnut falls to 1-5.

By Gary Budzak