Johnny Spinner could barely catch his breath after the Olentangy Berlin High School football team earned a 53-22 win over visiting Briggs on Aug. 24 in the program's first game.
After rushing for 235 yards and five touchdowns on 29 carries to help the Bears roll to their first victory, the junior running back belted out an emotional version of the newly opened school's fight song with teammates, coaches, family and friends.
"It was just a great feeling to be able to do this for everyone wearing (the school colors of) blue on blue," Spinner said. "It was an amazing experience and something I'll never forget."
The 5-foot-9, 200-pound Spinner had 138 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 22 carries in the first half as the Bears built a 40-14 lead. Playing linebacker, he also recovered a Briggs fumble at the Bruins' 19-yard line on his team's first defensive series.>> Friday Night Live: Olentangy Berlin 53, Briggs 22 <<
Two plays later, Spinner scored on a 10-yard run with 6 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first quarter to send the home crowd into a frenzy.
"The community was great and the crowd was great," coach Mark Nori said. "You can't emulate that feeling of being out there and having that kind of support. I think they have been waiting on this for over a year. Hopefully we put on a great show for them."
The Bears have another first Friday, Aug. 31, when they travel to Canal Winchester for their initial road contest.
The Indians lost their opener at Thomas Worthington 34-21 on Aug. 24. Quarterback Jack Beeler threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to running back Stephan Byrd, but he also had two interceptions and Canal Winchester was just 6-for-14 on third-down conversions.
Darren Davis had a 5-yard touchdown run, and Mike Wilson added a 2-yard scoring run.
"I know (the Indians') defense is similar to what we played against (Briggs) and that they have some good defensive linemen," Nori said.
Also against Briggs, Corey Hill caught two passes for 41 yards from quarterback Jake Moeller, with both going for touchdowns, and had an interception as a linebacker. Moeller was 7-for-14 for 94 yards with no interceptions.
Nick Tiberio rushed for 43 yards on seven carries and scored on an 8-yard run in relief of Spinner.
"We're looking at it as a comprehensive thing where we're trying to get better every week," Nori said. "I still think our ceiling is high. We're not close to anywhere we need to be, but we took another step in the right direction."