After challenging non-league schedules, the New Albany and Olentangy Orange high school football teams are ready to begin OCC-Capital Division play.

After challenging non-league schedules, the New Albany and Olentangy Orange high school football teams are ready to begin OCC-Capital Division play.

The teams meet Friday, Sept. 18, at New Albany. Last season, the Eagles finished fourth (4-3) in the league behind champion Olentangy (7-0), and the Pioneers tied Delaware for sixth (2-5).

Orange is 0-3 after losing to unbeaten Westerville Central 33-10 on Sept. 11. The Pioneers will face a strong New Albany running game after Central's Benny Snell rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

"We're getting seasoned early on and tested," Orange coach Zebb Schroeder said. "Our (three non-league) opponents are 8-1 right now and it doesn't get any easier."

New Albany improved to 1-2 by defeating Toledo St. Francis 35-0 on Sept. 11. Their non-league opponents started a combined 6-3.

"As a program, we have three goals, going from short term to long term," Eagles coach Pat Samanich said. "Every Monday our goal is to finish the week 1-0, so it doesn't matter what happens on the previous Friday. We don't get too up or too down, but work toward winning each week. Then we want to win the league and go to the playoffs.

"We're playing in the OCC, which I think is the best league in the state. Everything is faster and more urgent (in the league)."

New Albany routed St. Francis while totaling 446 yards, including 359 rushing. Victor White rushed for 200 yards with touchdowns of 69 and 43 yards on 14 carries, and Zach Hall added 97 yards on 12 attempts.

New Albany limited St. Francis to 132 yards, including 69 rushing.

"It was good to win that game, especially since we were winning both of our first two games at halftime," said Samanich, whose team lost to Reynoldsburg 48-42 in two overtimes Aug. 28 and to Central 41-37 on Sept. 4.

"We really focused on conditioning. We had the kids condition hard at the beginning of practice (the week before playing St. Francis), forcing them to practice and do drills when they were tired. That way we taught the kids how to finish when they were tired, which is the way it will be late in games."

Tyler Lichter rushed for 146 yards on 26 carries to lead Orange against Central. Bobby Eleyet ran 16 yards for a score, and J.D. Dayhuff was 8-for-14 passing for 108 yards.

"Every week we've done good things on offense," Schroeder said.

"We just have been falling a little shy of showing it on the scoreboard."