What happened this week in the Columbus area?

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Blake Horvath had never really performed in front of a large crowd on a Friday night.

Hilliard’s senior Darby played as a sophomore in 2019, but there’s a difference between occasional second-year contributions and being the starting quarterback as a senior.

So it was fitting that Horvath was the one to lift the crowd for the first time all night long at the start of the third quarter. As Horvath passed Olentangy Orange’s Andre Robinson in midfield with nothing but fading daylight between him and the end zone, the fans in attendance stood up and took note.

One by one, the crowd rose and turned to see how far Horvath would go. When he crossed the goal line to score Darby’s first touchdown of the season, they exploded, much like the fireworks that were set off after time ran out in the 17-0 win.

Hilliard quarterback Darby Blake Horvath rushes to the end zone in the Panthers' 17-0 win over Olentangy Orange.

“It was great to have everyone back,” said Horvath. “Our student section was amazing, all the fans were on their feet. I thought it was a great section.”

Throughout the night, everything from vocal battles between the two student sections to gasps from the crowd during an electrifying play, reminded how unique the atmosphere of Friday night football is.

At the end of the match, Horvath and his teammates waved their arms to encourage the crowd to make even more noise as they ran to ring the bell at the other end of the pitch and celebrate their victory.

After 18 months of uncertainty and limited crowds, a full stadium on a Friday night felt like a throwback to a simpler time.

“How about a Friday night of football under a full moon with the Panthers in the lead?” Darby’s public address announcer asked early in the fourth quarter.

What about, indeed.

Hilliard Darby fans watch their football team warm up ahead of the start of their season opener against Olentangy Orange at Hilliard Darby High School on August 20, 2021.

Around the Ohio Football Center

Hartley kicked off the 2021 football season early with a Thursday night clash at Youngstown Ursuline. The Hawks had a chance to win the game with less than 30 seconds to go, but narrowly missed out on fourth and lost 62-58 – a final score that makes it hard to believe a defensive position ended the match. …

Upper Arlington senior running back Carson Gresock picked up where he left off in 2020 with a school record 384 rushing yards and four touchdowns in Friday night’s comeback win over Reynoldsburg. …

Not to be outdone by Gresock, Harvest Prep’s Jaylen jennings scored five touchdowns, including a long 91-yard run, and racked up 229 total rushing yards on 15 carries in the Warriors’ 60-34 win over Eastmoor Academy. …

Senior West Jefferson Tyler buescher passed for four touchdowns in the 48-13 rout of the Urbana Roughriders. Buescher finished with 297 total yards while completing 25 of his 34 attempted passes.

Basketball

Former Ohio State Basketball Star Ron lewis joined Worthington Kilbourne as a junior boys coach. Lewis has spent 14 seasons playing professional basketball abroad and will be a permanent substitute teacher this year at Kilbourne.

Kary Hollenbaugh clocked a round of 60, including his first hole-in-one on August 16 at the Lady Elk Invitational in Centerville.

Golf

New Albany senior and Ohio State commit Kary hollenbaugh shot his first hole in one on August 16 at the Lady Elk Invitational in Centerville. Hollenbaugh allowed a 60 for the round, although it is not known if this is a state record as the Ohio High School Athletic Association does not maintain regular season golf records.

Hollenbaugh’s hole in one came two days after senior Delaware Hayes Colin Bibler carded an ace to him.

Soccer

Westerville North senior Chloe robertson scored two goals on his birthday Thursday to lead the Warriors in a 5-0 victory over Newark. Senior journeyman Alison rothmann also scored twice in the win.

Diving

Bailee Sturgill, who placed third in the state diving tournament last year for Hilliard Darby as a rookie, has been named to the United States squad for the world junior diving championships. The competition will take place in Kiev, Ukraine, in December.

Baseball

senior pitcher Olentangy Liberty Nathan Leininger on Wednesday announced its commitment to the University of Toledo.

Athlete of the week

Nominations are due Monday morning for the Dispatch Athlete of the Week award.

Anyone can nominate an athlete through a variety of methods, including via Twitter using the hashtag #DispatchAOW or by tagging @ BrianWhite13, via the Dispatch Facebook page or by e-mail at bwhite1@dispatch.com.

The full rules for nominations can be found here.

bjohnson@dispatch.com

@baileyajohnson_



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