Senior quarterback Alex Lando hopes the Olentangy Liberty High School football team will be able to check off one of its preseason goals when it opens Friday, Aug. 28, at home against intra-district rival Orange.

Senior quarterback Alex Lando hopes the Olentangy Liberty High School football team will be able to check off one of its preseason goals when it opens Friday, Aug. 28, at home against intra-district rival Orange.

"The game is huge," said Lando, whose team finished 9-3 last season, losing to Lakewood St. Edward 41-12 in the second round of the Division I, Region 1 playoffs. "It's always a game that we circle on our calendar, and not because it's the first game of the season. It's our goal to not only win the league (OCC-Central Division) and go to the playoffs, but to win our (school) district (by defeating Orange and Olentangy). It's always big for us and also one of the biggest turnouts fan-wise."

The Patriots have won four of the five meetings with the Pioneers -- 29-14 in 2010, 43-21 in 2012, 25-7 in 2013 and 38-0 last season. In 2011, Orange won 22-8.

Last season's loss didn't sit well with Orange senior running back/linebacker Blake Skuratowicz.

"It's been all about 38 (in the offseason)," he said. "We gave up 38 points, and we have been playing and working out with a chip on our shoulders. We can't let that happen again."

Orange finished 4-6 last season, its first under coach Zebb Schroeder. The Pioneers return seven players in their spread offense, but need to replace junior quarterback Will Phillis after he transferred to Hilliard Bradley. Last season, he was 96-for-172 passing for 1,216 yards with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Junior D.J. Dayhuff saw action in four games, finishing 7-for-17 for 77 yards and one interception. Sophomore Luke Schmeling also was vying to start at quarterback for Orange.

Other offensive threats include senior wide receiver Matthew Collins (27 catches, 405 yards, 5 touchdowns), senior running back Tyler Litchter (431 yards rushing, 4 TDs), senior wingback Hunter Shepherd (13 catches, 213 yards), senior wide receiver Michael Sargent (30 catches, 275 yards) and Skuratowicz (41 carries, 224 yards, 1 TD).

The Patriots must replace 2015 graduate Nick Durtschi at running back. He rushed for 1,254 yards and 12 touchdowns on 231 carries and also caught 44 passes for 364 yards and four scores last year.

"We have been playing really well (during the preseason), but we are a little inexperienced in places," Lando said. "Our offensive line has been making huge holes, but the backs aren't hitting them. But that's something that comes with experience, and we have been improving. We have a young sophomore in Trent Davies playing (at running back) and we're confident that he'll do well."

Lando completed 191 of 280 passes for 2,045 yards and 22 touchdowns last year. His primary targets are expected to be junior wide receivers Drew Rosi (22 catches, 320 yards), Brendon White (21 catches, 264 yards, 5 TDs) and Will Fowler (11 catches, 103 yards).