It didn't take long for the victory bell sitting at the north end of the Olentangy Orange High School football stadium to be rung.

It didn't take long for the victory bell sitting at the north end of the Olentangy Orange High School football stadium to be rung.

After huddling in the end zone at the south end of the stadium for a brief speech by coach Brian Cross after a 21-20 win over Marion Elgin last Friday in their inaugural game, the players raced toward the bell at the other end and gathered around it before declaring victory.

Not a bad way to christen a stadium.

"There's no doubt that we will enjoy playing at home all season long," Cross said.

Earlier in the day, a pep rally was held at the school. If that didn't get the Pioneers psychologically charged for the game, then hearing the roar of the crowd as they ran onto the field as a team for the first time surely did.

Orange seemed to feed off the emotion, as it needed only two plays to take a 7-0 lead 51 seconds into the contest.

"We had a huge pep rally during school," said tight end Andy Ebersbach, who has the distinction of scoring the program's first touchdown. "We were fired up, all the teachers were fired up and all the freshmen, sophomores and juniors were fired up. We told them all to be out here, and we had a great showing. We had a ton of people. It was great."

The fans, most of whom showed their support by wearing clothes that had the school's blue and orange colors, also left an impression on quarterback and defensive back Corey Joe, who had a hand in the team's first score by throwing the 12-yard touchdown pass to Ebersbach.

"It was incredible," Joe said as he looked at the home stands after the game. "We were told it was going to be sold out, and to see all the support from the community is the best thing ever because when we're playing we need all the support we can get."

As the game ended, the student section emptied onto the field to celebrate with the players.

"Our student section is crazy, man," Joe said. "They're crazy."

Unfortunately for Orange, it won't be seeing much of its home field over the next six weeks, as five of its next six games, including the next three, will be on the road. Its next home game is Sept. 19 against defending Division III state champion Big Walnut in an OCC-Capital Division contest.

The first road game is at 7 p.m. Saturday at New Bremen. The Cardinals, who are in Division VI and are members of the Midwest Athletic Conference, finished 2-8 last season but opened with a 32-10 win over Covington last Friday.

"Just like Elgin, they think just because this is our first year playing, they can smash us in the mouth," Joe said. "We've just got to be tougher and fight for every inch. (Beating Elgin) is definitely a confidence-booster. We're ready to go into (the game against New Bremen) and get another victory. We're ready."

"They were 2-8 last year," Cross said of New Bremen, "but they're playing a team they've got to believe they've got a chance against because we're a team with no seniors and a team without much experience. I'm sure they'll be jacked up and ready to go."

Key players for New Bremen include Caleb Cox (DB), Corey Jutte (RB), Adam Meyer (LB), Spencer Rohr (LB/TE) and Caleb Williams (QB). Against Covington, Jutte rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries and scored on a 60-yard punt return, and Williams completed seven of 15 passes for 68 yards. Rohr had three receptions for 48 yards.

"This is my second year at this school," Cardinals coach Rob Messick said. "Last year was a big transition year. This year the kids have a better understanding of what's going on. Obviously, that makes a big difference."

Messick sees some similarities between his team and the Pioneers.

"We kind of mirror each other," he said. "We run the same defense, the 4-3 or 4-4, depending on the situation, and on offense we run out of the I or one-back (formations), just like Olentangy does, so there is a familiarity for us."

But that's not to say that the Pioneers won't provide challenges for the Cardinals.

"We've got some concerns," Messick said. "They'll be about 50 pounds heavier per person on the offensive and defensive lines than us. We just don't have the size or depth that they have. And they have a running quarterback. That's a very big concern. We have to find a way to contain him."

Though Cross was pleased with his team's overall performance against Elgin, he will be looking for a better performance against New Bremen.

"Personally, I'm a little nervous because I know we have a lot of work to do to get ready for (this) week," he said. "There's a ton of things to work on, no doubt about it. Defensively we weren't as physical as we'd like to be, but that's something we're going to work on."

From left, Battle of the Bulge veterans Bob Zimmer, Richard Branaghan, Gene Kohli, Frank Walsh, Robin Priday, Alton Litsinberger and Richard Wheeler are honored during the pre-game presentation of the colors.

(Above) Josh Enneking of Orange tries to corral Elgin's Brad Sealey. (Above left) Pioneers fan James Kemmerling cheers after an Orange touchdown. (Left) Cami Parker and her children, Emily, Matt and Nathan, purchase tickets to the game.

Last Friday

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Next game


•When: 7 p.m. Saturday

•Last meeting: First meeting

•New Bremen to date: Defeated Covington 32-10

•Top Cardinals: Caleb Cox, Corey Jutte, Adam Meyer, Spencer Rohr and Caleb Williams