Nagging injuries to its best athlete and a season-ending injury to its defensive leader could not keep down the Olentangy Liberty High School football team this season.

Nagging injuries to its best athlete and a season-ending injury to its defensive leader could not keep down the Olentangy Liberty High School football team this season.

The Patriots, beginning with a 30-29 comeback win over Wexford (Pennsylvania) North Allegheny on Aug. 26, seemed to find ways to battle through adversity throughout their first 10-0 regular season.

Liberty wrapped up the ThisWeek Super 7 poll championship with a 35-14 win over Westerville North on Oct. 28.

"After all the hard work we put in through the offseason and whole year, it's truly humbling," junior wide receiver Johnny Wiseman said of the team's success.

Following the win over North Allegheny, the Patriots beat Cleveland Glenville (24-20 on Sept. 20), Hamilton (Ontario) St. Thomas More (58-10 on Sept. 9), Hilliard Davidson (28-3 on Sept. 16) and Pickerington North (33-28 on Sept. 23) in other non-league contests.

Glenville, Davidson and Pickerington North all qualified for the playoffs.

Liberty then went 5-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division, with its closest game being a 20-13 double-overtime win over Olentangy Orange on Oct. 21.

The Patriots earned the top seed for the Division I, Region 2 playoffs and posted wins over eighth-seeded Orange (24-17 on Nov. 4), fifth-seeded Medina (45-27 on Nov. 11) and third-seeded Lorain (24-20 on Nov. 18) to win their first regional championship.

They then lost to Cleveland St. Ignatius 24-14 in a state semifinal Nov. 25 to finish 13-1.

Senior Brendon White, an Ohio State commit, spent most of the regular season as a dual-threat quarterback when he wasn't battling an ankle injury. Junior linebacker Edward Warinner led the defense before suffering a season-ending knee injury in a 31-0 win over Olentangy on Oct. 14.

Warinner and seniors Connor Parrish (OL) and A.J. Smith (K) were named first-team all-district and Steve Hale was district Coach of the Year. Wiseman made second-team all-district, and White, senior Drew Rosi (TE/DL) and junior Matt Webb (RB) were special mention all-district.

Wiseman was named OCC-Buckeye Player of the Year.

"The dynamic (was) really cool all season," senior wide receiver Ben Rinsma said. "Everyone (had) their own strengths and a job to do, and I think that's (what) helped us play together so well and bounce back like we (did) in games where started off slow."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek