Softball: Orange wins sectional final
Orange took another step toward securing at least a share of the OCC-Capital Division crown Friday in Lewis Center, coupling solid play on both sides of the ball to knock off visiting Hilliard Bradley 33-14.
The Pioneers (7-2, 5-1 OCC) started fast … and never really slowed down. Luke Wolford opened the action with a 70-yard touchdown run on the game’s first offensive play, making one cut before reaching the second level and sprinting to the end zone untouched. Bryan Schrader added the extra point and, with 11:41 to go in the first quarter, Orange was up 7-0.
The Jaguars (6-3, 3-3 OCC) looked poised to benefit from a fast start, too, starting at the Orange 20-yard line following a 77-yard kickoff return. The Orange defense came out fired up, though, holding Bradley to just three yards on three plays to set up a 34-yard field goal attempt — a kick that sailed wide left to keep the Pioneer cushion at a touchdown.
Orange made the empty trip hurt even more on the ensuing offensive series, using a slew of big plays — a 31-yard connection between quarterback Kofi Hill and Wolford, and runs of 11, 10 and nine yards by fullback Michael Forbes — to push the ball deep into enemy territory. Brandon Schoen then capped the solid drive with a 15-yard touchdown run, giving his team a 14-0 lead following Schrader’s extra point with 6:07 to go in the opening quarter.
Hilliard Bradley gained a bit of momentum back early in the second, converting on a pair of fourth-down conversions en route to a 17-yard TD hook up between quarterback Conor Driscoll and Cody Klein. The PAT was wide, though, making it 14-6 with 10:59 to go until halftime.
Despite failing to score the rest of the quarter, Orange, which brought the 14-6 edge into the break, pretty much dominated the rest of the action.
After starting a drive at the Jaguar 42-yard line following a nice defensive stand and a poor punt, short runs by Schoen and Wolford set up a 31-yard Schrader field goal, making it 17-6 with 6:48 in the third.
The Orange defense stood tall on the next Bradley series, too, forcing a fourth-and-17 play after a short loss by Stanford on first down, a sack by Coleman McCurry on second and an incomplete pass on third. Trying to punt, the snap sailed over the Jaguar punter and through the end zone, resulting in a safety and a 19-6 Pioneer lead with 5:11 to go in the third.
Schoen added a one-yard TD run to make it 26-6 with eight seconds left in the third and, after a Bradley score and two-point conversion early in the fourth, Hill sealed the deal with a strong 25-yard TD run with 5:44 to play.
Orange, led by Schoen’s 98 rushing yards, Forbes’ 79, Wolford’s 71 and Hill’s 67, rushed for 315 yards while outgaining Bradley in total yardage by a 366-198 spread.
With the win, coupled with wins by Big Walnut and New Albany, Orange joins the two squads atop the league standings with just one game left — a OCC tilt against host Hayes at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
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