Luke Schmeling threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and the defense for the Olentangy Orange High School football team did the rest in a 32-7 victory over host Worthington Kilbourne on Aug. 25 in the season opener.
Orange was able to relish the lopsided victory after losing to the Wolves in overtime during the past two seasons. Kilbourne won 31-28 in 2015 and 29-28 last season.
“Throughout the offseason it was ‘Beat Kilbourne. Beat Kilbourne. Beat Kilbourne,’ ” said Schmeling, who was 8-for-16 passing for 145 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. “A lot of feelings get built up when you lose in overtime for two years in a row.”
The Pioneers started quickly as senior defensive back Jayden Rodgers picked off a pass by Kilbourne quarterback Parker Wereb at the Orange 43-yard line with 11 minutes, 5 seconds left in the opening quarter. After the Pioneers drove to the Kilbourne 39, running back Graham Starn took a fourth-and-2 handoff to the end zone to open the scoring.
“I thought that fourth-down run really got things going for us,” Orange coach Zebb Schroeder said. “We didn't play a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s good to go 1-0.”
The Pioneers dominated the line of scrimmage, especially in the first half. Kilbourne had minus-25 yards in the first two quarters, including minus-24 yards on the ground. The Wolves finished with 98 total yards.
With 2:43 left in the first quarter, defensive end Zach Harrison tackled Kilbourne running back Michael McQuade in the end zone for a safety. Schmeling then connected with senior wide receiver Manny Anderson on a 43-yard scoring pass to build a 16-0 lead with 1:09 left in the first.
“They had our number tonight,” Kilbourne coach Vince Trombetti said. “They outplayed us and outgained us. We’re a young team without a lot of Friday night experience.”
Starn finished with 83 yards on 14 carries, and Schmeling had 35 yards on six carries, including a 6-yard touchdown.
Schmeling also threw a 12-yard score to Harrison, who caught two passes for 43 yards. Anderson added four receptions for 68 yards. Grant Simon had a 31-yard field goal for the Pioneers’ only second-half score.
Wereb threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Grayson Timms for the Wolves with 1:37 left to play.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final OLENTANGY ORANGE
16 13 3 0 32 WORTHINGTON KILBOURNE
0 0 0 7 7
OO—Starn 39 run (Simon kick)
OO—Safety, Harrison tackled McQuade in end zone
OO—Anderson 43 pass from Schmeling (Simon kick)
OO—Harrison 12 pass from Schmeling (Simon kick)
OO—Schmeling 6 run (kick failed)
OO—Simon 31 FG
WK—Timms 29 pass from Wereb (Laudermilch kick)