Coming off its first season-opening win in eight years, the Olentangy Orange High School football team is trying not to get ahead of itself.
After defeating host Worthington Kilbourne 32-7 on Aug. 25 for their first victory over the Wolves since 2012, the Pioneers play Watterson on Friday, Sept. 1.
A win would make Orange 2-0 for the first time since 2009, when they started 4-0 before losing 31-15 to Big Walnut, but coach Zebb Schroeder is preaching perspective and patience.
“Anytime you start 1-0, it’s a good deal, but we still have a lot of football to play,” Schroeder said. “Just like in the years we started 0-1, we know that it’s only one game. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Orange was supposed to play Watterson at Hagley Field, but the Eagles decided to move the game to Otterbein.
“We play many other sports at Otterbein and thought we’d try football with Orange since they’re close,” Watterson athletics director Doug Etgen said.
The Eagles opened Aug. 25 by defeating Whitehall 41-6 in coach Brian Kennedy’s debut.
Senior Cole Andrews was 8-for-14 passing for 170 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and he also had a 13-yard scoring run. Senior Cam Headlee rushed for 54 yards on nine carries, and senior Nate Meyer had three catches for 98 yards and one score.
“I believe that they have been talking about this senior class for quite a while,” said Schroeder, whose team defeated Watterson 28-21 last fall in the only meeting between the programs. “Anytime you have a big senior class like that you can have a big season, so they will be ready to play.”
Watterson had a balanced attack against the Rams, with 163 yards rushing and 170 passing.
Orange’s Luke Schmeling was 8-for-16 passing for 145 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against Kilbourne. He also had a 6-yard touchdown run.
He expects to feel pressure from the Eagles.
“They have a tough defensive line,” he said. “We have to go in with the 1-0 mentality. We have to have the mentality that we are going in to win the game that week. It’s the only game that’s important.”
Orange limited Kilbourne to minus-25 yards in the first half, and the Wolves finished with 98 total yards. Leading the charge was defensive end Zach Harrison, who tackled Michael McQuade in the end zone for a safety late in the first quarter.
Harrison also caught two passes for 43 yards and a touchdown, and Manny Anderson caught four passes for 68 yards and a score.
Graham Starn rushed for 83 yards on 14 carries, including a 39-yard touchdown.