As was the case a week ago, the second weekend of the central Ohio high school football season produced a feel-good story.
Actually, there were two.
A week after Olentangy Berlin won its inaugural game, Groveport defeated Hamilton Township 28-14 in the Obetz Bowl on Aug. 30 at Fortress Obetz to snap a 12-game losing streak.
Then on Aug. 31, Bexley gave second-year coach Nathan Castorena his first victory when the Lions beat Campbell Memorial 16-0 to also end a 12-game skid.
It’s a different kind of pressure from what was felt by a team like Whitehall, which has made the playoffs each of the past two seasons and needed a series of strong defensive plays to hold off Northland 31-28 on Aug. 31 to keep from falling to 0-2.
Still, there’s nothing better for Bexley and Groveport than to finally feel some vindication after going winless in 2017.
Here are five things we learned from Week 2:
1. New Albany isn’t missing a beat despite having a new coach.
There often is an adjustment period after teams hire a new coach, but not for New Albany.
The Eagles have a new coach in Matthew Kidwell but have been one of the area’s most impressive teams so far, beating Westerville South 31-7 on Aug. 24 and then controlling an up-and-coming Dublin Scioto team 37-21 on Aug. 30.
New Albany led the Irish 31-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
2. For those who might have been wondering, Hartley is going to be just fine.
A week after enduring a 42-17 loss to Toledo Central Catholic, the defending CCL champion Hawks put a hurting on a state power Aug. 31.
Hartley’s 51-20 victory over Wheelersburg snapped the Pirates’ 36-game regular-season winning streak and showed that there might be a huge difference between the best teams in Division III, of which the Hawks are a member, and in Division V, where the Pirates are defending state champions.
3. Speaking of the CCL, Watterson showed that it is an improved team.
The Eagles are coming off a 2-8 season and entered this year with just 35 players, but there’s plenty of fight on that roster.
During a 17-14 victory Aug. 31 over Olentangy Orange, a Division I playoff team last fall, the Division III squad passed for nearly 200 yards and had enough poise to rally for the game-winning score with less than two minutes remaining.
4. Reynoldsburg continues to impress.
Yes, the Raiders are a Division I program and their opponent Aug. 31 was Division II Licking Heights, but there were some emotions involved because of the proximity of the schools.
Building off an opening 17-14 victory over Upper Arlington, Reynoldsburg crushed the Hornets 44-0 as it produced 418 yards of offense while holding Licking Heights to 40 yards.
5. Davidson took the first step toward winning the battle of Hilliard.
After losing to both Bradley and Darby a season ago, Davidson beat Darby 14-0 on Aug. 31 in the first of back-to-back weeks against its sister schools.
The Wildcats, who play Bradley on Sept. 7, are 2-0 and have yet to give up a point. They allowed just 102 total yards, including 74 rushing, against a run-first Panthers offense.