During the season that began a new era of Olentangy High School football, Seth O'Neal watched from the stands as part of the student section known as "The Wigwam."

During the season that began a new era of Olentangy High School football, Seth O'Neal watched from the stands as part of the student section known as "The Wigwam."

He never felt quite right doing so.

"I realized I should have been on the field," said O'Neal, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior who sees time in almost every facet of the game for the Braves. "My sophomore year, I started getting ready for basketball (earlier) and I listened to the wrong people. I love football. I missed it. I realized I wanted to take part."

Coach Mark Solis caught wind of that after the 2013 season, his first at the school, and in which Olentangy finished 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the OCC-Capital Division and narrowly missed the playoffs.

"Coach Solis approached me about coming back out, and I am very glad that I did," O'Neal said. "It was a done deal pretty quick. He definitely persuaded me and thought I'd be a good fit for the team. It has worked out."

Not only is O'Neal one of the Braves' starting cornerbacks, but he also returns kickoffs and punts and is utilized at both running back and wide receiver. Olentangy is 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Capital entering a Friday, Oct. 2, home game against resurgent Franklin Heights.

O'Neal's contributions went a long way toward Olentangy recording its best season last year. He had six interceptions and 52 tackles at cornerback, 16 catches for 216 yards and a touchdown as a wide receiver, seven carries for 31 yards and a touchdown at running back and nine punt returns for 113 yards.

The Braves went 13-1 overall and 7-0 in the OCC-Capital, winning their first league and regional championships before losing to Cincinnati La Salle 48-13 in a Division II state semifinal.

This season, O'Neal has caught 12 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown, has 13 carries for 55 yards and made 14 tackles and an interception on defense. On special teams, he has five punt returns for 105 yards and one kickoff return for 49 yards.

O'Neal's talents were on full display in a 24-22 win at Pickerington North on Sept. 11.

Not only did O'Neal have punt returns of 25 and 33 yards in the second half to set up Olentangy deep in North territory, but he also made a game-saving play with 2 minutes, 6 seconds to play when he intercepted a potential game-tying two-point conversion pass from North quarterback Michael Lowery.

"A lot of it is the fact that (O'Neal) is a shifty kid and very agile, but he's also a kid who takes coaching," Braves defensive coordinator Mike Picetti said. "Any adjustment we need to make, Seth knows what to do. If we know a kid will punt it 40 yards, Seth knows what to do. That's the reason that he's there."

O'Neal had a 77-yard touchdown catch in the Braves' 43-20 win at Olentangy Orange on Sept. 25, their third consecutive victory and sixth in a row over the Pioneers. Quarterback Deeb Haber threw four touchdown passes, three to Jake O'Donnell on tosses of 24, 12 and 16 yards, and on the season has completed 86 of 141 passes for 1,169 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions.

O'Donnell has caught 26 passes for 386 touchdowns and seven scores. Cam Kennedy leads the running game with 588 yards and five touchdowns on 107 carries.

Franklin Heights dropped to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Capital with a 49-21 loss to New Albany on Sept. 25.

Running back Brenden Knox continued a stellar season, rushing for 187 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. He now has rushed for 997 yards and 12 touchdowns on 131 carries to complement wide receiver Seth Dawkins, a Louisville commit who has caught 35 passes for 565 yards and three touchdowns.

Quarterback Dylan Akers has completed 59 of 97 passes for 868 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception.

The Falcons, who had a three-game winning streak snapped against New Albany, run a 4-3 defense led by linemen Austin Moore, Christian Scase and Joey Slark.