Olentangy Orange routed Big Walnut 35-10 with a big second half in an Ohio Capital Conference game on Sept. 15.
The Golden Eagles had the lead at halftime 10-7, but suffered a costly injury when running Abe Myers went down with a right leg injury in the next-to-last play. Myers was carried off the field by teammates and was driven off in a golf cart. He did not return.
The Pioneers won the coin toss and kicked off to Big Walnut. Myers rushed for a first down, but the drive was stymied by an illegal procedure penalty and an incompletion. Orange quarterback Luke Schmeling led the Olentangy squad down the field, but Eli Myers broke up his pass in the end zone. Grant Simon’s 39-yard field goal attempt was partially blocked by the Eagles special teams.
On each teams’ next drive, interceptions were traded, with Colin White making the defensive stop for BW. The first quarter ended scoreless, but BW continued a long drive with tough running by Abe Myers. Orange helped prolong the drive with a blow to the helmet personal foul, but BW was stopped on the 5, forcing Tyler Shuster to boot a 22-yard-field goal with 6:20 in the half to take a 3-0 lead.
The Pioneers answered right back, with a 52-yard scamper by Schmeling, and extra point by Simon putting them on top 7-3 with 5:09 to go. BW punted on the next possession, but White made his second interception on Schmeling, and was rewarded on the other side of the ball with a 70-yard reception from quarterback Tyler Ronk for a touchdown for the lead with two minutes in the half.
The injury to Myers seemed to take the air out of the Eagles. Orange’s Mark Roberts ran the ball in from 42 yards out for a touchdown to put the Pioneers up for good 14-10 with 9:15 left in the third. A Big Walnut pass was intercepted for a 15-yard pick 6 by defensive lineman Brant Kightlinger to make it 21-10 with 1:49 in the third.
After that, it was the Jack Applewhite show. The senior running back carried the rock often, and pounded in from a yard out to put Orange up 28-10 with 9:51 left. With just over 4 minutes to go, Applegate scored again from 5 yards out.
Big Walnut didn’t quit, though. With 7 minutes to go, Shuster faked a field goal for the Eagles, and the pass was incomplete. The Eagles’ final drive at the end of the game was squashed by an interception from defensive back Brandon Ransom, and the Pioneers went into victory formation.
Statistically, the Eagles held the ball 5 minutes longer, had fewer penalties and passed for nearly a hundred yards more than Orange. However, the Pioneers had the three interceptions and a better ground game (302 to 112 yards) to get the win.
Next up for BW is an away game at Westerville South.
Leann Budzak contributed to this report.