Isaac Lucas took the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and the Big Walnut Golden Eagles never looked back, rolling to a 54-24 non-league win over visiting Canal Winchester in their season opener last Friday in Sunbury.
The game was delayed 10 minutes due to rain and thunder, and became cold and blustery in the second half. The new scoreboard worked well and played Kenny Chesney’s homage to high school football, “The Boys of Fall.”
Canal won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, and the senior running back outran the defenders only 14 seconds into the game. For two weeks in a row, Lucas has reeled off big gains on returns.
The Indians took a brief 7-6 lead when junior workhorse running back Nick Tiell plowed into the end zone from two yards out on fourth-and-goal early in the first, but it was all Eagles (1-1) after that. The turning point came after Big Walnut’s first offensive series resulted in a red zone fumble. However, sophomore linebacker Abe Myers recovered a fumble for the home team the very next play.
Three one-yard touchdown runs — scores by David Hunt, Lucas and Evan Garcia — made it 26-10 with 4:38 left in the second before quarterback Mike Sensi scored on a keeper from a yard out to make it 33-10 three minutes later. The latter touchdown was set up by another fumble recovery by Myers. Senior kicker Tommy Fleser began converting his point-after attempts once Walnut got the lead.
Another Sensi TD run, this time from eight yards out, made it 40-10 with 15 seconds left in the first half. The score was set up by some nifty moves by senior running back Cole Weaver.
With the 30-point lead, a running time clock put Canal Winchester at a disadvantage, but they closed the gap to 40-17 with their opening drive of the second half. The 15-year pass by Trevor Harrison-Rawn to Casey Cook was the only scoring of the third quarter.
A 15-yard scoring sprint from Hunt ballooned the lead back to 30, 47-17, with 10 minutes to go in the game.
Weaver added to the edge with a one-yard TD run midway through the fourth. Canal got a cosmetic touchdown near the end to preserve the 30-point deficit.
Big Walnut (1-1) next travels to St. Charles (1-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Follow Ben Stroup @delgazette_ben. Gary Budzak contributed to this story.