DELAWARE – The final game on the Buckeye Valley field was memorable for 16 senior Barons as they collected a wild 17-14 win over Marion Harding on Friday night in a Mid Ohio Athletic Conference game.
The Barons (5-4 overall and 4-2 in the MOAC) scored the winning points with 48 seconds left and then needed an interception in the end zone to secure the victory.
“That game pretty much had it all,” BV coach Matt Stephens said. “It was pretty wild.”
The Barons jumped out to a 9-0 lead and then had to withstand a Harding comeback to grab the win.
“We played well in the first half and held them pretty well,” Stephens said. “Give them credit. They fought back and played hard. They really took over the line of scrimmage in the second half.”
The Presidents (3-6, 3-3) also took over the lead as they scored a pair of second half touchdowns. The second of the touchdowns came with 2:35 left and put Harding on the brink of a win.
“Give Tim Schilling a lot of credit,” Stephens said. “He made some key passes and had some big runs on our final drive, and then he pushed in for the touchdown.”
Chris Santillan got the Barons going in the opening quarter. After Teren Wycoff recovered a fumble for the Barons, the home team moved quickly for a score. Santillan broke loose for a 24-yard jaunt. The PAT try was blocked for a 6-0 lead. Schilling got the drive going with a 33-yard pass to Gabe Miller.
Mistakes plagued Harding early in the contest. In addition to the fumble, a blocked punt hurt the Presidents on one drive, but the Barons were not able to convert that into points. The Presidents also moved the ball down to the BV 4-yard line late in the first period, but a penalty pushed them back and they gave up the ball on downs.
The teams moved the ball in the second quarter, but drives fell short of the end zone.
Sam Scharff added three points for the Barons at the end of the first half as he knocked through a 39-yard field goal. Santillan got the final drive going for BV with a 35-yard run. He finished the opening two quarters with 129 yards.
The Barons racked up 186 yards in the first 16 minutes and the Presidents had 99 yards.
After a scoreless third period, Harding got on the board as Thomas Moore ran in from the 3-yard line for a touchdown. Ryan Sayre hit Jordan Scott with the conversion pass and the Presidents cut the margin to 9-8 with 11:56 to play in the contest.
Harding was stout on defense and held the Barons and forced a punt. The Presidents pushed the ball down to the BV 14-yard line. A penalty backed the ball up to the 22, and on fourth down, Buckeye Valley’s Ian Hogg broke up a pass to give the Barons the ball with 5:33 remaining.
The Presidents got the oval right back when Scott recovered a fumble. Harding marched down the field and picked up a touchdown on a 4-yard run by Moore. The try for two was no good, and Harding held a 14-9 lead with 2:35 on the board.
Buckeye Valley moved from its own 33-yard line as Schilling went to the air. Passes to Hogg and Nathan Bisang and two passes to Wycoff moved the ball down to the Harding 17. A pass to Gabe Miller and a penalty on the Presidents put the ball on the five. Schilling gained four yards and then moved in from the one for the touchdown. Schilling tacked on the PAT run for a 17-14 Buckeye Valley lead with 48 seconds remaining.
Harding was not done, however, as the Presidents moved back down the field in a hurry. A run by Sayre and pass from Noah Thompson to TJ Jefferson put the ball on the BV 42. A pass from Sayre to Evan McGeorge set up the final try. Sayre’s pass went into the end zone, but was nabbed by Buckeye Valley’s Cooper.
“We moved the ball well in the first half, but they made some adjustments and we could not move it as well in the second half,” Stephens said.
Buckeye Valley finished the night with 255 yards to 219 for Harding. Santillan ended the night with 23 carries for 137 yards. Schilling clicked on 10 of 16 passes for 115 yards.
Titus Douglas gained 102 yards on 23 runs for the Presidents.
“It was a great way for the seniors to finish here. You always want the seniors to win their final home game,” Stephens said. “Now we have to go to North Union and try to win the final game of the year.”