MOUNT HEALTHY — It was Aaron Hodge’s world, and we were all just living in it on Friday night. The senior scored three touchdowns in Mount Healthy’s (2-3) lopsided 34-0 win over Talawanda (2-3). Hodge ran for 74 yards on five carries.
“If I was to pick my top two or three kids in my coaching career that I love more than anything, he’s (Hodge) one of them,” Mount Healthy head coach Arvie Crouch said. “I’m so proud of him because he keeps a positive attitude and does everything right.”
It took the Owls just two minutes and 30 seconds to strike first after a Hodge scored on an 11-yard run.
After a quick three-and-out from Talawanda, the Owls struck yet again when junior quarterback NaDavion Gaither streaked into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. Just six minutes in, the Owls’ offense was clicking.
While the Mount Healthy offense was humming, the defense was dominant. The Owls’ defense held Talawanda running back Deondre Bothast-Revalee to just 20 rushing yards on 13 carries. Talawanda finished the game with 40 total yards.
Senior defensive back Jurynn Womack intercepted an overthrown deep ball from Talawanda quarterback Braden Wright. The Owls’ offense crafted a perfect two-minute drill that ended with a beautifully thrown ball from Gaither into the arms of Hodge for his second touchdown.
“Our defensive coordinator did an outstanding job of game planning these guys, and it showed tonight,” Crouch said. “Our kids are flying around. We’ve been a good defense, but we had just been missing plays here and there.”
Senior defensive lineman Aries Lamb had four tackles and a sack. Senior linebacker Isaac McKinney added five tackles.
In the second half, it was more of the same for the Mount Healthy offense. The Owls churned out a drive late in the third quarter that set up another Hodge touchdown reception.
Early in the fourth, Gaither padded his rushing stats with a 92-yard run from his own 4-yard line all the way down to the Talawanda 4-yard line. This led to an easy pitch and catch from Gaither to Aries Lindsay to trigger the running clock. Three of Gaither’s four completions were touchdowns.
The win for Mount Healthy was its second straight after beating Northwest last week. The Owls are building momentum after a rough 0-3 start.
“When we were 0-3, I asked the team what was going on and they said that they weren’t together,” Crouch said. “That’s something that we’ve been focusing on over the last few weeks, and these guys are starting to gel as a team.”
The Brave are trending in the opposite direction. After a 2-0 start, they’ve dropped three in a row. They’ve been outscored 103-14 in those losses.
Next week is the final week of the Ohio high school regular season. Mount Healthy will look to stay hot as it goes on the road to face Ross. Talawanda will try to get back on track with a trip to Northwest on the horizon. Both games will kick off at 7 p.m.