Perhaps one fact best sums up the adversity the Upper Arlington High School football team has faced this year.
For the first time this season, the Golden Bears rolled out the same lineup for the second consecutive game when they played host to Hilliard Davidson on Oct. 6.
UA will have to wait a little longer, however, if it is to record back-to-back victories for the first time this year.
At 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Central Division, the Bears will play host to Marysville on Friday, Oct. 13.
"We've gotten some guys back healthy, but we just have to execute better overall," coach Joel Cutler said after a 9-6 loss to Davidson, UA's 11th consecutive loss to the Wildcats dating to the 2008 season.
Defensive back Dylan Lewis, who suffered a concussion Sept. 15 against Westerville South and missed one game, is healthy, as is wide receiver Josh Rushin. Against Davidson, Rushin caught seven passes for 102 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown from quarterback Sammy Sass with 6 seconds left in the first half.
Rushin, who was injured in the season opener against St. Charles and missed four games, had catches of 16, 13, 22 and 18 yards to prolong drives in the first half. On the season, he has caught 13 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns.
"Josh is definitely a talent. We're excited to have him back," Cutler said. "That is a big boost to the offensive side."
Davidson kicker Sean Carrier made three field goals, including the game-winner from 48 yards with 23 seconds left.
UA is 6-1 all-time against Marysville, including wins over the Monarchs each of the past five seasons in OCC-Central play.
Marysville also is 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the league and is coming off a 27-6 win over Westland on Oct. 6. Tommy Rush, a University of Minnesota recruit as a linebacker, had 15 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown and caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Walker Heard in the third quarter.
Rush also helped lead a defensive effort that limited Westland to negative-13 yards rushing while the Monarchs piled up 246 of their 352 yards on the ground.
Cutler is perhaps most confident in his defense, which got 11.5 tackles from defensive lineman Nick Cipriano and 7.5 from linebacker Zoltan Hartmus against Davidson. Hartmus had two tackles for loss, and Lewis had three.
"Our defensive line played extremely well; the defense, in general, played lights-out," Cutler said. "They adjusted to almost everything. There was no quit in our guys all the way down to the last kick."