Faced with one fewer day to prepare than in a normal week, the Dublin Scioto and New Albany high school football teams enter their matchup Thursday, Aug. 30, at Scioto with some familiarity.
The Eagles defeated the Irish 31-7 in a Division II, Region 7 semifinal on Nov. 11, 2016, and if that game is not necessarily fresh in the minds of coaches or players from either team, both coaches agree their opponent's overall look hasn't changed much in the past 21 months.
"They have some athletes back and they have an established program that has had a lot of success," New Albany coach Matthew Kidwell said. "They'll spread it out and run some one-back looks with three wide receivers. They'll get some big plays and we'll have to limit those."
Both teams come in at 1-0. The Eagles opened with a 31-7 win at Westerville South on Aug. 24, and that same night the Irish scored 28 points by halfway through the first quarter in routing host St. Charles 56-7.>> Friday Night Live: previews, scores, recaps and more <<
"This week is going to be a different game," Scioto coach Karl Johnson said. "New Albany presents a lot of challenges. They're a disciplined, mature team and they are very good at what they do. They have a solid quarterback (Luke Muter), good running backs and a defense that flies to the ball. We're going to have a physical game."
This is the first regular-season game between the Eagles and Irish since a 31-7 Scioto win on Oct. 12, 2007. Both teams were in the OCC-Capital Division at the time.
New Albany running back Alex Cox rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries at South, and Michiah Burton added 89 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Although the Eagles were outgained 309-270, they benefited from four turnovers as defensive backs Dean Danflous and Brody Kidwell each had an interception and a forced fumble.
"On defense, we preach being ball hawks and the guys did exactly that," coach Kidwell said. "Our offensive line took control and opened some nice holes. We had a number of backs ready to go and Alex had a great game."
Scioto wide receiver Tobias Thomas turned a 5-yard reception from quarterback Kyron Rogers into a 60-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage against St. Charles, and Thomas later added a 3-yard touchdown run and a 62-yard punt return for a score.
Running back Kenyon Pannell scored on a 68-yard run, a 43-yard pass from Rogers and a 44-yard interception return.
"They came ready to play and executed the way they're capable of," Johnson said. "We feel like we have the skill-position kids who can make big plays, especially once they get in space."