Joe Morlan, a junior quarterback for the New Albany High School football team, had one start last year.

It was against a Franklin Heights team that hadn't won an OCC game in more than two seasons. The game appeared to be a mismatch. New Albany was loaded with seniors looking to return to the playoffs after reaching a Division III state semifinal in 2006.

The Falcons were a team that was rebuilding under first-year coach Jeff Pica.

But the game was close. The Eagles won 35-32, though they rested several key starters.

That likely won't be the case Friday when the Eagles play host to Franklin Heights in an OCC-Capital Division game. New Albany will be looking to do what it did last Friday as it finished drives with touchdowns to down Olentangy Orange 30-21.

"We always want to finish," coach Mark Mueller said. "We're proud of the way they finished."

They did it by resurrecting a two-quarterback system that
hadn't been seen since a 34-17 loss to Westerville North in the opener Aug. 22.

Jacob Sullivan received the start and the offense looked much better than it did in the first game as Sullivan had a run of 36 yards during a 9-play, 65-yard drive that led to a 2-yard touchdown run by David Sharpe.

Morlan came in for one pass in the first half and then played in the second half for an injured Sullivan and threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Collin Show.

Morlan appeared to be the starter entering the season. Having served as the backup last season, he was the first quarterback to come into games for mop-up duty.

During the summer, Sullivan, a senior, arose as another option at quarterback. He had been playing as a receiver and his running ability gave New Albany and intriguing aspect to their wing-T offense.
With Sullivan at quarterback, it opened the playbook to the shotgun zone-read play.

New Albany unveiled a two-quarterback system in the opener and the offense struggled. The Eagles scrapped the plan for the next four games as Mueller said the offense, which had new starters at nearly every position, needed to get comfortable. Part of that process was getting Morlan, the better passer of the two, more comfortable.

Against Franklin Heights, the offense is going to see a defense led by linebacker Kyle Powell, who had a team-high 96 tackles last season.

Playing alongside Powell for the young Falcons are sophomore linebacker Jerry Miles and sophomore defensive lineman Matt Quinn. The Falcons have given up at least 27 points in three games this season.

They won one of those games, beating Waverly 49-27 on Sept. 19.

The Falcons have scored more than 27 points in four games. They use a spread offense that features flanker Rico Jackson, who had a 59-yard touchdown reception last Friday when Franklin Heights defeated Mount Vernon 30-21.

Throwing him the ball will be quarterback Mike Taylor, who had 250 yards passing against Mount Vernon. Taylor often looks to get the ball to tight end Mike Hamilton, who is 6-foot-4, 180 pounds.
The Falcons' offensive line has size, led by Chris Columbus (6-1, 275) and Tran Sheets (6-2, 240).

Franklin Heights will be the fourth spread offense the Eagles will have seen this season. They faced spread teams in Westerville Central (a 21-0 win Aug. 29), Chardon Notre Dame Cathedral Latin (a 35-13 win Sept. 13) and last Friday. Mueller uses the philosophy that spread teams spread opponents out in order to run the ball and Friday's game will most likely be no different. The Eagles will zero in on the run like they have for games against other spread teams.

"We know from playing those other teams that we have to shut down the run so the defensive backs don't have to worry about it," said senior linebacker John Korth, who returned an interception 27-yards for a touchdown last Friday. "Then they can play the pass and that's when they get interceptions."