Olentangy High School football coach Ed Terwilliger might have to reach deep into his bag of tricks to find a play Orange won't be ready for when his team plays host to the Pioneers on Friday in the first matchup between the programs.

Olentangy High School football coach Ed Terwilliger might have to reach deep into his bag of tricks to find a play Orange won't be ready for when his team plays host to the Pioneers on Friday in the first matchup between the programs.

Three members of Orange's coaching staff are former Olentangy assistants and the vast majority of the Pioneers' seniors and juniors were part of Terwilliger's program for a year or two.

"I'll tell you one thing -- they know a lot more about us than we know about them," Terwilliger said. "What am I going to do to try to fool them?"

Orange went 3-7 in its inaugural season last year and the Braves finished 7-4, losing to Sylvania Southview in the first round of the Division II playoffs.

Orange coach Brian Cross said playing Olentangy in the opener certainly got his team motivated.

"I'm anticipating a very spirited football game," he said. "The entire class (of 2010) was split up when they added Orange. A lot of these kids have played against each other, so there's a lot of pride at stake."

"It's going to be an exciting, nerve-wracking week," Orange senior quarterback Corey Joe said. "There has been a lot of trash talking going on, but it is all fun. We're not going to be friends during the game, but we will be again once it's over."

The challenge for Olentangy's defense will be to recognize and stop a constantly changing Pioneers offense. Orange started last season using the I-formation but switched to a spread offense and occasionally employed Cross' staple offense -- the wing-T.

The Pioneers return all of their offensive weapons. Joe rushed for 584 yards and six touchdowns on 125 carries and completed 42 of 102 passes for 719 yards last season. Running back Jake Vacheresse rushed for 417 yards and five touchdowns on 97 carries and running back Blake Joe ran for 298 yards on 45 carries. Wide receiver Ross Smith led the team with 12 receptions for 334 yards and wide receiver Chase Swisher had 10 receptions for 163 yards.

Trying to slow down Orange's attack will be a Braves defense that is a mixture of youth and experience. It features seniors Michael Raiff and Brad Young on the line, David Greenzalis at linebacker and Aaron Gutentag and Ryan Summers in the secondary.

Olentangy returns senior running backs Joe Eschenbach and Ben-Michael Welch. Eschenbach rushed for 467 yards and one touchdown on 115 carries last season and caught nine passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Welch was the team's leading receiver with 17 catches for 277 passes and a touchdown and ran for 152 yards on 39 carries with two touchdowns.

None of the six quarterbacks listed on Olentangy's roster has taken a varsity snap, but Cross said his scouts were very impressed with how well the Braves threw the ball in a recent scrimmage. Senior James Camp appeared to be the leading candidate for the starting job coming out of preseason.

Linebackers Alex Chekanoff Kyle Henderson, Jacob Harris lead Orange's defense, which primarily will run a 4-3 base. The secondary includes Corey Joe, who was second-team all-OCC-Capital Division and all-district, and Pablo Kirigiti and the line includes Alec Dickman, Tyler Hughes and Jason Tomlinson.

One advantage Olentangy might have is that it has been through the rigors of a game featuring two programs from the school district while and Orange has not. Last season, Olentangy played Liberty for the first time, falling 21-16 in an OCC-Cardinal contest played at Crew Stadium. That same day at Crew Stadium, Orange lost to New Albany 31-20.

Summers and Greenzalis said the contest against Liberty took on a life of its own, and they expect that to be the case on Friday.

"We learned about the pressure of a big game in front of a big crowd," Summers said. "Rivalry games are almost like a playoff game. You have to go all out."

"I was friends with a lot of (Orange's) linemen, and it's going to be kind of fun to see how we do," Greenzalis said. "We played together our sophomore year, so we know how good they are. Now we get to play them at the varsity level."