Olentangy, Orange set for battle
The Olentangy High School football team is 4-0, and no one knows how tough that grind has been more than coach Ed Terwilliger.
Now, for the third time in four weeks, the Braves will face a rival when they play an OCC-Capital Division game at home against Orange on Friday, Sept. 21.
Olentangy defeated its other district rival, Liberty, 28-16 on Aug. 31 and beat its longtime Delaware County rival, Big Walnut, 40-24 on Sept. 14.
"Nothing like having Liberty, Orange and Big Walnut in three of four games," said Terwilliger, whose team defeated Orange 27-21 last season. "You don't have to get the kids up to play those games.
"The kids are doing a nice job and it has been a lot of fun. The kids are doing well in practice and working hard, and the staff is working just as hard."
Each week, the Braves have increased their point total -- from 17 to 28 to 35 to 40. They defeated Worthington Kilbourne 17-14 on Aug. 24 and Lexington 35-21 on Sept. 7.
"If we're not emotionally ready (to play the Braves), the same type of thing could happen because they're good enough to jump on you," said Orange coach Brian Cross, whose team dropped to 2-2 overall with a 53-33 loss to New Albany on Sept. 14 in its league opener.
Olentangy is undefeated through four games for the first time since 2008, which was the last time it made the postseason. That season, the Braves started 5-0 and lost to Sylvania Southview 28-14 in the first round of the Division II, Region 6 playoffs.
"I don't think there is one key to a game like this because you have to look at the overall picture," Terwilliger said. "(Coaches) always say that you have to limit the big plays, the turnovers and the penalties, but that's really ironic because all of that stuff goes together. You have to play sound football and do the whole process that we want to go through.
"You have to prepare all week and keep things in perspective. One thing you can say is that the records will be irrelevant in this game."
Olentangy's win over Big Walnut evened the series between the programs at 24 victories.
Senior Christian Brett was a triple threat for the Braves. He had five receptions from quarterback Andrew Horst-man for 90 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown. He also had a 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and added an 81-yard punt return.
The Braves intercepted Big Walnut three times, with Griffin Binkley, Tim Feasel and Ramal Iverson having pickoffs.
Against New Albany, the Pioneers surrendered 33 points in the second quarter to trail 40-3 at halftime.
"(New Albany has) some skilled athletes and we struggled with that a little bit in the first half, but I like the way the kids came back in the second half," Cross said. "That's what we're going to take from this game.
"We're trying to teach our kids that you have to play four quarters. We haven't played four quarters in any of our games this year and we sure as heck didn't play four quarters (against New Albany). We made some strides in the second half, we did some good things, but (New Albany) just had a little more skill than we could handle."
The Pioneers had 272 yards rushing led by Larry Rode's 173 and three touchdowns on 20 carries. Mike Forbes had nine carries for 52 yards, and Kofi Hill was 9-for-14 passing for 106 yards and one touchdown.
"(Orange is) very good offensively and they score a lot of points," Terwilliger said of the Pioneers, who are averaging 27.5 points per game compared to 30 for the Braves. "Coach Cross is good at scheming against the defensive sets he sees from opponents.
"Coach Cross will have his team ready to play. They have the opportunity to change their season with a win against us and we have the opportunity to keep our season rolling."