27-10 fourth quarter come-from-behind win against visiting Olentangy on
Friday. Junior quarterback Kevin Jackson spearheaded the Celtics’
effort, rushing for 151 yards and three touchdowns. It was the
OCC-Cardinal Division opener for both teams.
After Olentangy took its lone lead of the game in the fourth quarter, the Celtics scored 20 unanswered points to take command.
Leading 7-3 early in the final 12 minutes, Jerome used an impressive goal line stand to keep the Braves out of the end zone, highlighted by a Tyler Mordecai and Christian Castilla tackle of quarterback Michael Duffy on fourth-and-goal from the one.
The Braves quickly got another chance to score when defensive back Matthew Silvia recovered a fumble at the Jerome 4 on the ensuing play.
Two plays later, Duffy gave the Braves their lone lead with a 1-yard TD plunge with 9:53 left.
The Celtics answered Duffy’s score quickly with a Jackson 2-yard TD run with 8:38 remaining. Cody Burris’ kickoff return into Olentangy territory helped set up the go-ahead score.
“We came out really motivated that drive,” Jackson said. “We felt offended that they scored that touchdown.”
Faced with a fourth-and-inches on Jerome’s next possession and with Jackson in the shotgun, the signal caller raced down the left sideline for a 61-yard TD run.
Jackson later capped a 71-yard march with a 21-yard TD on 4th-and-1 with 2:41 remaining in the game.
Ben Hartman’s interception helped set up the game’s final scoring drive.
“It was all blocking,” Jackson said of his two decisive TD runs. “It was just as much their touchdowns as they were mine.”
“We told Kevin all week that if he got the opportunity to run then run,” Jerome coach Mark Hundley said. “We knew that the way they were playing defense they were giving Kevin more than they were giving Ricky (Kovatch), so you have to take what they give you.”
Jerome grabbed a 7-3 halftime lead as Marshall Burkhart scored on 2-yard run early in the second quarter.
The Braves closed to within 7-3 on Sean Moritz’s 37-yard field goal with 2:40 remaining in the first half.
Drew Stevens led the Braves’ ground attack, rushing for 114 yards on 21 carries.
Jackson completed 6 of 13 passes for 108 yards.
“We didn’t make adjustments in the second half,” Jackson said. “We just felt like we played real bad in the first half. We just wanted to come out and execute and run our plays like they should be run in the second half.”
“I think today we became a four quarter team,” Hundley said. “I knew we had it in us, I just didn’t know when we were going to be able to get it out of us. I think we learned how to keep fighting and keep pushing in that fourth quarter.”
Jerome improves to 4-2 and the Braves fall to 3-3.
The Celtics will travel to Pickerington Central (6-0, 1-0) on Friday and Olentangy will play host to Westerville South (3-3, 1-0).