The Olentangy Berlin High School football team finished 1-9 overall in its inaugural season, but that's not a concern for coach Mark Nori.

He knows his team worked through growing pains and has the potential for a bright future.

History might be on the Bears' side based on the previous two high schools to open in the district.

Liberty finished 1-9 in 2003 after winning its opener, just as Berlin did this fall. In 2004, the Patriots reached the Division II, Region 6 playoffs and went 8-3.

Orange finished 3-7 in 2008 but in its second season in 2009, the Pioneers reached the Division II, Region 7 playoffs and went 9-3.

"I'm really proud of what the kids accomplished," said Nori, whose team finished eighth (0-7) in the OCC-Cardinal Division behind three-time defending champion Hilliard Bradley (7-0). "When we started, I was going through two-hour commutes (from Stow-Munroe Falls) three days a week for (weightlifting), and then we didn't get our own digs until late summer. We had a lot to work through and I'm proud of the way we handled that.

"The relationships built with coaches, players and the community, that doesn't put a lot of 'Ws' on the scoreboard. It does give us an opportunity to play together and grow together and show us what we want to do for the future. Now we're ready to build on the foundation that we started."

The Bears had no seniors, so the entire roster is eligible to return.

"I feel like as a team, we have grown together and have set up a good foundation," junior offensive lineman Noah Dursik said. "We don't have to worry about building trust because of that foundation we have built.

"I feel like we have high expectations for us next season. We will have a lot of kids that got experience at the varsity level, and everyone grew leaps and bounds. We all trust the coaches, and we should be a strong group of guys coming back. We all have a good bond coming back."

Berlin was led on offense by junior running back Johnny Spinner, sophomore quarterback Jake Moeller and junior wide receivers Corey Hill and Jalen Weitzel.

Spinner rushed for 781 yards and eight touchdowns on 191 carries, and Moeller was 112-for-199 passing for 1,517 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Weitzel caught 30 passes for 487 yards and six touchdowns, and Hill had 27 receptions for 386 yards and five scores.

"We threw (Moeller) in the fire from the start and he didn't get burnt much," Nori said. "He really made some good decisions for us as the season went along.

"(Spinner) took on much of the workload of the ground game, with 20 to 30 carries per game. He was a workhorse in every sense of the word. He never wanted to take a play off."

Defensively, junior linebacker Trevor Scott led the Bears in tackles (77) and tackles for loss (11) and also had an interception. Junior defensive lineman Jake Hill had 71.5 tackles, including 8.5 for loss, and Corey Hill had 49 tackles and four interceptions at linebacker.

Junior defensive back Marcus Elliott had 42 tackles, and sophomore defensive back Justin Rader had two interceptions.

Moeller was the league's Punter of the Year, averaging 39.4 per attempt. Corey Hill also was first-team all-league while Dursik, sophomore kicker Jacob Lewis (6-for-8 field goals, 14-for-17 extra points) and Scott were on the second team.

Jake Hill was special mention all-league and Spinner was honorable mention.

"The culture of the program is still a work in progress," Nori said. "We want them to not only be good players but good students and good citizens. We want them to be doing it right in the classroom and in the community. That means being on time and being a role model for the younger kids. If you can't do it off the field then it won't translate to success on the field."

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