Even though the Olentangy Liberty High School football team is 0-2, coach Steve Hale believes it is progressing.
It's been a challenge for the Patriots to adjust without senior quarterback Mitchell Okuley, who has been out with an injury since the first series of a 17-0 loss to Pickerington North on Aug. 24.>> Week 2 Scores & Recaps <<
Okuley remains questionable, meaning junior Corbin Parrish again could start when Liberty plays Friday, Sept. 7, at Marysville in a rematch of a game it won 32-21 last season.
In a 19-17 loss Aug. 31 to Cleveland Glenville, Liberty produced 293 yards of offense as Parrish rushed for 43 yards and two touchdowns and completed 12 of 26 passes for 156 yards.
Wide receiver Jake Sincek had five catches for 65 yards, and running back Aidan Kenley had two receptions for 60 yards and 75 yards rushing on 18 carries.
"I think our progress was better than the week before," Hale said. "We're still trying to get caught up. You lose a three-year starter (in Okuley) and bring in a new kid and it takes a while, plus we're stealing (Parrish) from our defense.
"We're just going to have to find ways to generate more first downs and points. We've tried to play to (Parrish's) strengths and do something he's more comfortable with, trying to put him in good situations."
Marysville enters the matchup also coming off a tight loss.
After beating Jonathan Alder 35-0 on Aug. 24, the Monarchs lost 17-16 in overtime at Delaware on Aug. 31 as quarterback Walker Heard was stopped short on what would have been the winning two-point conversion run.
Heard, who rushed for two touchdowns, is a key part of the Monarchs' wing-T offense because of his running ability.
Chase Kilgore and Brody Lewis are key running backs.
Defensively against Glenville, Dominick Magistrale had an interception and Liberty allowed 182 yards rushing on 42 carries.
"(Marysville has) a solid team," Hale said. "They've got a couple nice athletes back from last year's crew. ... It'll be very different than what we saw the first two weeks from Pickerington North and Glenville. I think they'll be more of a (run-oriented team). I thought our linebackers and our defensive line got solid pressure (on Glenville) and our secondary did a great job keeping them in front of us."