A new wrinkle is just what the Hayes-Buckeye Valley rivalry needed. That wrinkle — double overtime.
Hayes tied the game late in the fourth quarter, but Buckeye Valley scored on a pass play in the second overtime and held off the Pacers for a 38-32 victory Friday in front of a packed house at Gauthier Field.
“It was a great night for high school football, and this is what high school football is all about,” Buckeye Valley coach Mike Marshall said. “A cool night, a big rivalry, a lot of people in the stands, and both teams played so hard. I’m glad we were the last ones standing.”
“That is everything that’s good about high school sports right there in that three and a half hours,” first-year Hayes coach Zebb Schroeder said. “We were out there battling, and I’m so proud of our kids and their effort. I told our seniors that this hurts right now, but the character and the perseverance they showed between the white lines was impressive.”
The game was the longest in Buckeye Valley (1-0) history — the Barons had never gone longer than one overtime before — and tied the record for the longest game in Hayes (0-1) football history. The Pacers went two overtimes in 2005 against Central Crossing.
And throughout the game, it was evenly-matched. Both Hayes and Buckeye Valley balanced the offense while playing defenses that, while giving up yardage, kept each team in the game.
But the Barons seemed the aggressors in the second half and overtime, scoring a pair of third quarter touchdowns to take their first lead, 26-19. Junior running back Caleb Green was the standout, finishing with 189 yards on 18 carries with three touchdowns. Green also threw one touchdown pass for 30 yards.
“All of our kids played well tonight, and we played well on both sides of the ball,” Marshall said. “I know Caleb rushed for a bunch of yards, Brad Kreuger had some great catches, Kevan Green threw the ball well, and our defensive guys rose to the occasion in overtime.”
“Take nothing away from Buckeye Valley’s effort,” Schroeder said. “Their coaching staff did a great job and they have a couple of really nice high school football players. Caleb Green is definitely a football player, and he gave us fits all night.”
But the game had a pair of turning points, both coming on personal foul penalties. A Hayes personal foul kept a Baron fourth-quarter drive going, and junior receiver Shawn Free scored on a nine-yard end around to give Buckeye Valley a 32-26 lead.
On the ensuing Hayes drive, however, a Buckeye Valley penalty pushed the ball to the Baron 25, and junior Taylor Adair scored from 12 yards out with 1:47 left to send the game to overtime.
“That’s one of those things where emotions start riding high,” Schroeder said. “We just keep reminding our kids they need to stay focused and keep their cool, but when your emotions run high, that’s when you don’t execute and have those concentration lapses. Those are just more of the things that need to be corrected.”
Both teams failed to score in overtime, but the Barons broke the tie in the second extra frame on an eight-yard pass from Kevan Green to Free.
Pacer senior receiver Matt Bingaya, who ran wild on the Barons last season, was a force in the second half as well, finishing with eight catches for 96 yards and two scores, but the Baron defense put the clamps on the 6-5 receiver in the extra periods.
The Pacers still had their shot in the final overtime, but two short runs and an incomplete pass forced fourth down at the Baron 17. Hayes quarterback Josh Bender took the snap and found Bingaya in the end zone, but the pass sailed over Bingaya’s head, ending the marathon.
“They put almost three and a half to four players on him in the overtimes,” Schroeder said jokingly. “We tried to get the run game away from that side, but we just didn’t execute the two running plays. Tip your cap to their defense.”
“Matt Bingaya is probably one of the greatest athletes this county has ever seen,” Marshall said. “He made that one-handed catch down in the end zone and he’s just a hard man to defend.”
Kevan Green, the Baron senior quarterback, was 13 of 23 for 121 yards and the winning touchdown for Buckeye Valley. Free led the Baron receivers with four catches for 28 yards while Kreuger and junior Will Crecelius had three receptions each, Kreuger for 37 yards and Crecelius for 34.
Hayes junior back Taylor Adair had a strong game on the ground with 110 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns.
The quarterback tandem of senior Josh Bender and junior Alex Rafeld combined to complete 16 of 27 passes for 169 yards with two touchdowns, Bender going 9 of 16 for 99 yards and a touchdown and Rafeld 7 of 11 for 70 yards and a score.