For the first time since 2006, the Gahanna Lincoln High School football team has started 2-0 as the Lions defeated Strongsville 31-0 on Friday, Sept. 2.
Gahanna defeated Mifflin 40-0 and Marion Harding 14-13 in 2006 en route to a 9-4 season.
The Gahanna defense proved to be too much for the Mustangs, who finished with 197 total yards. In a 31-14 victory over DeSales on Aug. 26, the Lions also allowed 197 yards of offense.
"We've always been aggressive defensively," coach John Snoad said. "Bottom line is our kids buy in and they understand what we're trying to do. We rep it all week, and our defensive coordinator sets it up so they just have to recognize it on the field and get in the right spots. That's what we do."
The Lions defense forced two turnovers and recorded four sacks, including three by Cameron Howard.
Cornerback Aaron Roberson had an interception to end a threat by the Mustangs.
"We've been saying all week that hard work pays off," Howard said. "We really showed it tonight. I'm not taking all the credit. Our defense was locked down tonight, as you can see from the shutout."
Offensively, quarterback Tyler Grassman again led the way in place of injured starter Alec Tuohy. Grassman completed 15 of 18 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 6 yards for a score.
Grassman's scoring passes were 6 yards to tight end Mitchell Rowell and 24 yards to receiver Sante Cook with 3 minutes, 48 seconds left in the half. Cook had nine receptions for 79 yards.
Grassman rushed for 47 yards and one touchdown and also added a 42-yard field goal to end the first half with a 31-0 lead.
"This isn't the first time Tyler has been a quarterback," Snoad said. "Everyone has confidence in him so there's no issue there. He was the quarterback when they were freshmen so it was just a matter of getting back in the saddle and rolling with it."
Running back Brandon Shirey added 43 yards including an 11-yard touchdown run to give the Lions a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes, and 17 seconds left in the first quarter. The score came on an option play and Grassman waited until the final possible moment to pitch the ball.
The Mustangs offense struggled to get any rhythm against a Gahanna defense that has only allowed one offensive touchdown this season.
Mustangs quarterback Austin Pritchard was seven of 15 for 70 yards. Running back Dustin Stout added 61 yards rushing and Corey Dohar contributed with 46.
STRONGSVILLE 0 0 0 0 -- 0
GAHANNA 7 24 0 0 -- 31
G--Shirey 11 run (Grassman kick)
G--Grassman 6 run (Grassman kick)
G-- Rowell 6 pass from Grassman (Grassman kick)
G--Cook 24 pass from Grassman (Grassman kick)
G--Grassman 42 FG