The New Albany High School football team is 2-0 for the first time since 2013, but first-year coach Matthew Kidwell admitted he didn't plan on that happening quite how it has.
The Eagles roll into their home opener Friday, Sept. 7, against Licking Heights averaging 34 points per game with an offense seemingly clicking on all cylinders.>> New Albany 37, Dublin Scioto 21 <<
Quarterback Luke Muter, in his first year as the starter, is 14-for-21 passing for 225 yards and has thrown at least one pass to eight receivers.
While Michiah Burton's 116 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 24 carries led New Albany to a 37-21 win at Dublin Scioto on Aug. 30, carries have been spread out. Burton leads the rushing game with 205 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries, but Alex Cox (27 carries, 134 yards, 3 TDs), Reed Hall (6 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD) and Kingston Mabatah (15 carries, 54 yards) also are playing prominent roles.
"We're very deep at running back," Kidwell said. "(Assistant coach) Bobby Britton is doing a wonderful job with them and so is (offensive coordinator) Brian Finn calling the plays.
"Going into the season, we knew we had a lot of weapons, but I don't think we knew these guys would step up like they have. It's been huge. We have a number of guys we can go to. It's a great group. The best thing about them is they're not selfish at all."
Hall ran for a 53-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against Scioto and Brode White added two 1-yard touchdown runs.
"We know what we're capable of executing," Burton said. "It's not just the backfield, but every position group. That has really shown up the first few weeks."
Licking Heights, which like New Albany is in Division II, Region 7, edged Westland 34-32 in its opener Aug. 24 and played its home opener Aug. 31 against Reynoldsburg.
Senior quarterback Jacob Righter is a third-year starter. He passed for 1,321 yards and 10 touchdowns and ran for 562 yards and nine scores last year, when the Hornets went 6-4.
This is the third consecutive season in which the Eagles and Hornets have met in the third game. Licking Heights won 35-30 last year, and New Albany won 24-23 in 2016.
The Eagles overhauled the first two weeks of their schedule, replacing recent opponents Reynoldsburg and Hilliard Bradley with Westerville South and Scioto, but kept Licking Heights and Gahanna.
So far, the opponent has not seemed to matter.
"I love what this team brings to the table," Kidwell said. "The best is yet to come."