The Grove City High School football team hopes it can celebrate Tennyson Varney’s home coaching debut with a win.

The Dawgs play host to Olentangy on Friday, Sept. 1, looking to rebound from a 24-0 loss at Hilliard Davidson in their opener Aug. 25.

Grove City was held to 93 total yards and five first downs, an aspect of the game Varney said must improve if his team is going to have success.

D.J. Gatewood, who missed most of last season with a broken leg, rushed for 52 yards on 15 carries to lead the Dawgs.

“I said this at the beginning, for us to be at the top, we have to play with the best,” Varney said. “We got a little lesson (against Davidson). We just have to pick ourselves up and prepare (for Olentangy). The season is not over. We’re a young football team. We have a long way to go and we just have to keep working.”

Grove City played without senior running back Devin Dukes, a transfer from Ready who missed the game as his eligibility has not been cleared by the OHSAA. Athletics director Kris Sander said that process would continue this week and his status for Week 2 remained uncertain.

Olentangy opened by rallying past Hilliard Darby 45-24 on Aug. 25.

The Braves scored 38 consecutive points to erase an early 17-7 deficit. Running back Ali Iverson rushed for 123 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, and quarterback Riley Bruening added touchdown runs of 5 and 4 yards in his first career start.

Bruening earned the starting assignment ahead of Connor Haag after a competition during the preseason.

Olentangy is seeking its fourth consecutive postseason berth while Grove City is looking for its first since 2008 when it lost to Davidson 38-7 in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 playoffs.

The Braves beat the Dawgs 35-13 last season.

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