Jackets blow second half lead to Pioneers
Saturday, October 26th
DELAWARE — Spurred by two long J.D. Orr touchdowns runs, Mount Vernon led Olentangy 27-17 at halftime of their Ohio Capital Conference showdown on Friday night. The second half was another matter, as the Braves scored 21 unanswered points and shut out the Yellow Jackets for a come-from-behind 38-27 victory.
Olentangy (7-2) had the ball for more than 25 minutes of the game’s 48, and used that time to outgain Mount Vernon (6-3) 498-342. Braves QB Deeb Haber completed 20-of-29 passes for 234 yards, and the team’s backs rushed for 264 yards.
Orr rushed for 196 yards on 19 carries, 57 percent of the Jackets total. Despite his first-quarter touchdown runs of 71 and 95 yards, he averaged just 1.8 yards on 17 carries the rest of the way. QB Ryan Fitzgerald was effective, completing 10-of-13 passes for 81 yards. Mount Vernon was 3-of-9 on third downs to 5-of-13 for Olentangy, lost two fumbles and committed 89 yards of penalties.
Orr flashed his speed early, taking the first handoff of the game from the Jacket 29 yard line and taking it 71 yards to the house. Perry Studebaker’s kick left the Mount Vernon ahead, 7-0. After a 3-and-out, the Braves left the Jackets with miserable field position, lofting a punt down to the Mount Verno 5 yard line. Orr had an answer for that, however, taking the ball 95 yards to put his team up, 13-0.
Olentangy finally found some offensive rhythm heading into the second quarter. With 11:02 to play in the half, Hayden Hunter ran in from 4 yards out to cut the lead to 13-7. Less than three minutes later, Orr scored his third TD of the game, a 5 yarder, to lift the Jackets to a 20-7 lead. The Braves sped downfield on their next drive, scoring at the 6:01 mark on Haber’s 3-yard run.
Mount Vernon took a 27-14 lead on George Walker’s 11-yard touchdown reception with 35 seconds to play, but an adjusted clock put two seconds back on the clock. Those proved to be important, as Haber passed Olentangy down to the Jackets 21-yard line with 0.5 seconds to play, allowing Jacob Bell to hit a 38-yard field goal to cut the Mount Vernon lead to 27-14 at halftime.
The Braves second quarter left it with the momentum going into the third quarter, and with Orr stymied, the Jackets were forced to punt a lot, giving Olentangy good field position. Maleke Mitchell scored on a 7-yard run with 6:53 left in the period to cut the lead to 27-24.
That score remained entering the fourth quarter, although the Braves were in the red zone when the third period ended. Anthony Golden finished off the drive with a 3-yard TD run, and the extra-point left Olentangy ahead for the first time, 31-27. The Braves kept Mount Vernon off the board, and added insurance on Mitchell’s 59-yard touchdown run with 4:16 to play in the game.
Fitzgerald rushed 12 times for 63 yards, and Walker caught four passes for 40 yards for the Jackets. Mitchell gained 104 yards on five carries for Olentangy, and Hunter ran 23 times for 98 yards. J.T. Grega had eight catches for 80 yards.
Mount Vernon will finish the season at home next Friday, hosting New Albany at 7:30 p.m.
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