Olentangy High School football coach Mark Solis couldn't help but think of his most successful Braves team when the current Braves visited Liberty for a key OCC-Buckeye Division and Division I, Region 2 clash Oct. 14.

Olentangy High School football coach Mark Solis couldn't help but think of his most successful Braves team when the current Braves visited Liberty for a key OCC-Buckeye Division and Division I, Region 2 clash Oct. 14.

"(The Patriots) kind of remind me of our team from two years ago (that made a Division II state semifinal)," Solis said. "I was talking to their coaches and I just said, 'Make you sure cherish this and enjoy it. Enjoy the ride.' They have a chance to make a run (at a state championship). They are really, really good."

Unfortunately for the Braves, it took a 31-0 drubbing at the hands of the undefeated Patriots for that to come into full focus.

Now, Olentangy can't afford to look back as it faces the prospect of fighting for its playoff lives in its final two games.

At 5-3 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Buckeye, the Braves play host to slumping Westerville North on Friday, Oct. 21. Olentangy was projected to be eighth in this week's Region 2 computer ratings, the threshold for making the playoffs as the top eight teams qualify.

Although the Braves were projected to be about 3.4 points ahead of ninth-place Westerville Central, making the postseason is anything but a sure thing at this point because Olentangy visits Central in the regular-season finale Oct. 28.

Olentangy was held to 86 total yards at Liberty, including only three rushing yards on 26 carries.

It was the Braves' second shutout loss of the season, after a 35-0 setback at Dublin Coffman on Sept. 16.

Olentangy fell behind in the first 40 seconds when the opening kickoff was fumbled, leading to a Liberty touchdown. Quarterback Connor Haag was sacked five times, and the longest play from scrimmage was a 23-yard pass to Sam Durst in the second quarter.

Westerville North started 2-0 and 3-1 but has lost four consecutive games, most recently 10-9 to previously winless Westerville South on Oct. 14.

Fullback Bodi Bien had 124 of the Warriors' 197 rushing yards, including a 13-yard touchdown with 2 minutes, 32 seconds to play that gave North a 9-3 lead.

"All we can do is look at the tape and dust ourselves off and get better," Solis said. "That's all we can do. These next two weeks, we don't have any choice."

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave