For both coaches, the showdown between Delaware’s Hayes Pacers and Buckeye Valley Barons was their first game at the helm in front of a packed Buckeye Valley stadium. Despite a tight first half, the Pacers pushed ahead to soundly beat the Barons – though not as much as last year’s finish of 51-0.
“I’m glad for the kids because they worked real hard all summer and it’s important that they get a victory,” said new Pacers’ head coach Mike Golden, on how he felt about the win.
“You coach to win the game, and that was the goal, but all my goals for this team are still out there for us,” said Barons’ coach Matthew Stephens.
“You know, some 50,000 kids play high school football and 25,000 of them feel the way we do tonight. And we just got flip that script and be on the winning end next week.”
The Pacers scored two field goals in the first quarter, then scored a touchdown right before halftime, and the extra point put them ahead 13-0.
“At halftime, as poorly as we played, down 13-0 you’re two plays away from being in the lead so again our offense has got to get going and I know it will,” Stephens said.
Even though they were ahead, Golden still saw room for improvement in how the Pacers’ offense performed in the first half.
“We just weren’t blocking very well, we weren’t finishing plays,” he said.
“We were starting plays but not finishing, not doing everything we needed to do to make sure the play worked 100 percent.”
The Pacers scored another touchdown in the third quarter, then brought in two more TDs (with only one successful point-after attempt) and a field goal to settle the score at 30.
“It was tough offensively, but at this time of the year usually your defense is ahead of the game and our offense is new this year to these kids,” Barons’ Stephens said.
He said they’d work to improve by focusing on better fundamentals in getting plays started; in their first eight snaps they lined up incorrectly twice, missed a snap once, got a penalty and fumbled.
“That’s shooting yourself in the foot, that’s not the way you want to come out and start a football game,” he said.
He did find some positives, though.
“We had some kids step up, we had a freshman linebacker that played and was calling our defenses…he’s an athletic kid and physical, but it’s a big step up from eighth grade football and playing Division I football against Hayes and he was solid for it so I was pleased with that…I thought we battled the entire game.”
After the game, Mike Golden talked to the team about their next game against Marysville High School; they finished by coming together and chanting “Family.”
“That’s just how they feel,” Golden explained.
“They work real hard and they work real close together so they feel like family.”
All photos by DelawareO photographer Spenser Hickey. If you would like a full size copy of the photos contact him at shickey@DelawareO.com