The Olentangy High School football team has not had a losing record through three games since 2009, but coach Mark Solis isn't concerned.
The Braves, who are 1-2, visit unbeaten Dublin Coffman on Friday, Sept. 14, but Solis believes his team is much better than its record indicates.
"(The Shamrocks) have some athletes, but so do we," Solis said. "Our schedule has helped to prepare us. It will be a challenge, but we will be prepared."
Olentangy has lost to two teams that have a combined record of 5-1. The Braves fell to Hilliard Darby 17-14 on Aug. 24 and Miamisburg 24-14 on Aug. 31. The Panthers are 2-1 and the Vikings are 3-0.
Coffman is 3-0 but its opponents are a combined 2-7.
Last season, the teams met twice, with Olentangy winning both matchups. The Braves won the Week 4 meeting 31-14 and beat the Shamrocks 28-24 in the opening round of the Division I, Region 2 playoffs.
"Nobody's team is the same from year to year, so this is a whole new team on both sides," said Coffman coach Mark Crabtree, whose team beat Olentangy 35-0 in 2016. "I know they have a lot of experience back in the skill positions. The players know what to do and the expectations of what coach Solis is trying to accomplish."
The Braves picked up their first win by defeating Holland Springfield 53-33 on Sept. 7. They have used two quarterbacks through three games, with Connor Haag completing 46 of 70 passes for 456 yards and three touchdowns and Trent Maddox connecting on 27 of 34 passes for 347 yards and two scores. Neither has thrown an interception.
Zach Shiblaq is Olentangy's top rusher with 282 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries. Luke Riedel has caught 25 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns, and Caden Kaiser has 13 receptions for 209 yards and two scores.
"When you are playing a team like Coffman, a program storied in tradition with some really good coaches and players, you want to stay close in the fourth quarter and give yourself a chance," Solis said. "Let's play a full 48 minutes and make them play all 48 and hopefully we have a chance to win it at the end."
Coffman defeated Dublin Jerome 45-14 on Sept. 7, rallying from a 14-10 halftime deficit.
Mike Drennen rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries and had a 30-yard reception against the Celtics. Quarterback Ethan Brown was 10-for-15 passing for 104 yards and rushed for a 1-yard score, and Alex Dluzynski caught four passes for 36 yards.
"We had some self-inflicted wounds in the first half and didn't do that in second half," Crabtree said. "We came to the conclusion that we needed to be a little simpler on defense, play more zone and stop the deep fade that (the Celtics) were hitting on us."