With a 17-3 loss to Orange on Oct. 19, the Olentangy Liberty High School football team had a 13-game winning streak snapped in OCC-Buckeye Division play.

Just as alarming was the way the Patriots struggled, particularly on offense.

On the positive side, Liberty still can win a share of the league title and reach the postseason.

Although the Patriots are 5-4 overall and 3-1 in the league, they are about to face an opponent that has struggled even more in recent weeks.

With a win Friday, Oct. 26, at Westerville North, Liberty likely will have a chance to begin defending the Division I, Region 2 championship it won the past two seasons.

The Patriots were projected to be fifth in the region heading into their Week 10 game. The top eight teams make the playoffs.

"We'll just work to get better," coach Steve Hale said. "Sometimes things go well. Sometimes things don't and you try to fix those things. We'll share a part of the league title if we can get a win Friday and then probably another trip to the playoffs, so there's still a ton to play for. There are a lot of teams in worse positions than us, so we'll take the positives and go from there."

North is 3-6 overall and has lost four in a row since beating Franklin Heights 48-18 on Sept. 21. The Warriors have lost all 14 games they've played since the OCC aligned to the current format, including all four this season in the OCC-Buckeye.

They're coming off a 42-14 loss to Olentangy on Oct. 19 and give up an average of 32.3 points.

With those numbers in mind, Liberty should have an opportunity to get its offense going after Orange limited it to 82 yards.

Mitchell Okuley completed just two of 14 passes for 13 yards and was intercepted twice. Aidan Kenley was held to 62 yards rushing on 18 carries and wide receivers Jake Sincek and Mitchell Kershner were held without a catch.

The Patriots, who got 10 tackles from Ben Cox against Orange, will be tasked with stopping one of the league's top running backs in Rondale Smith.

"They've got nice, big, strong kids," Hale said. "They like to run around and hit. I'm not sure where their struggles have been because their scores have been somewhat lopsided, but they've looked very competitive.

"(Orange) just made plays. Their kids got in position to make plays and did a nice job of making tackles. There are a lot of things we need to fix."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek