Thomas Worthington High School football coach Scott Gordon can count the number of running plays coaches called in last Friday's 26-21 loss to Olentangy on one hand.

Thomas Worthington High School football coach Scott Gordon can count the number of running plays coaches called in last Friday's 26-21 loss to Olentangy on one hand.

"I think we ran four running plays, but we're in a situation right now where we're trying to find the best way to get our best athletes the ball," he said. "If you're going to throw it up 40 times you better have an efficient quarterback."

Junior quarterback Sam Bohon couldn't have been any more resourceful in completing 24 of 38 passes, two of them for touchdowns to receiver Vance Frederick.

The Cardinals hope their air assault will generate their first victory Friday when Olentangy Liberty travels to Thomas for the teams' first meeting.

"They throw the ball 88 percent of the time and that's a whole bunch for high school football," said Liberty coach Steve Hale, whose team opened last Friday with a 10-7 loss to Dublin Coffman. "They've got several nice athletes and they do some nice things. Scott's been around for a while and I think he was with Steve Spurrier at Florida so he knows a little bit about the passing game."

The Patriots intended to open with a potent ground game led by senior Allen Eggleston, be he had to sit out last Friday with a high ankle sprain.

Not only that, backup running back Joe'l Murphy is expected to be out a few more weeks with an ankle injury and running back and defensive back David Seaquist broke an arm last Friday.

"Right now I'm not sure if I'm going to be back this week," Eggleston said last Monday. "I'm waiting on my MRI. I've missed two and a half weeks and it was the toughest thing I've ever done in not being able to help my team last week."

Injuries have put a lot of pressure on the Patriots' defense, which came up with two fourth-down stands against Coffman and a blocked field goal. Cameron Whitner nearly got his hand on the 30-yard winning field goal by Kyle Clinton with a little more than a minute to play.

"We had two sophomores starting for us (in the secondary) and we didn't give up a long touchdown all night," Hale said. "That's valuable experience for those guys, but if we get Allen back that will take some of the pressure off."

The Patriots' running game has been centered on senior fullback Clay Lust, who last Friday rushed 10 times for 74 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown run.

Thomas outside linebacker John Shelton expects to remain tough against the run with linebackers Michael Brankamp, Bradley Myer and Sam Adams.

"We definitely know we're better than last year," Shelton said. "The Olentangy coaches told us that. But we really need to work on our pass defense coming into this game. We also know that their quarterback likes to run a lot."

Liberty junior quarterback Zach Michael will be looking to improve on last Friday's performance that included three interceptions.

"This is a team that has some really great speed, especially on the defensive front with (Cincinnati recruit) Michael Hilty," Gordon said. "They're not a team that's going to beat themselves so we can't make the same mistakes that we made last Friday."

Thomas' Zach Balk tries to bust through Olentangy defenders John Arnold (left) and Blake Files last Friday.

The Cardinals' Korie Simmons and Sam Adams (54) combine to bring down Thomas Carpenter of Olentangy as Josh Fuller (52) converges.

At a glance

THOMAS vs. OLENTANGY LIBERTY

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: First meeting

Liberty to date: Lost to Dublin Coffman 10-7

Top Patriots: Damien Capretta, Allen Eggleston, Todd Henderly, Michael Hilty, Victor Kaczkowski, Clay Lust, Zach Michael, Ben Rausch, David Seaquist and Cameron Whitner