The Hilliard Bradley and Olentangy Orange football teams entered Week 1 with several players new to varsity competition. Both came away with distinctly different impressions heading into Week 2.
Bradley will play Friday, Sept. 6, at Orange in the first meeting between the teams since the Pioneers won 21-13 in 2014. Orange holds a 4-1 advantage in the series, with the Jaguars' win coming in a 44-0 decision in 2013.
Orange opened with a 16-6 win at Worthington Kilbourne on Aug. 30, scoring all of its points in the first half.
"We couldn't put things together in the second half," Pioneers coach Zebb Schroeder said. "(The Wolves) had the ball throughout the third quarter and then in the fourth quarter we go from having things in control to being in a dogfight."
First-year starting quarterback Spencer Hawkins was 11-for-23 passing for 187 yards with two touchdown passes to Sam Wyne. The senior tight end had four receptions for 133 yards, including an 85-yard score.
Jake Vanchieri rushed for 135 yards on 15 carries, and Luke Applegate added 62 yards on 13 carries.
"Orange is pretty good, and (the Pioneers) run a lot of different formations," Bradley coach Mike LoParo said. "They look pretty balanced in terms of running and throwing the ball. They have a quarterback (in Hawkins) that is a tall kid (at 6-foot-3) and he can throw, and they have a couple of nice running backs (in Applegate and Vanchieri).
"Defensively, Orange has a couple of good linebackers that fly around to the ball. (The Pioneers) will be ready for us."
LoParo suffered only his second opening-game loss in his 14-year head coaching career at North Union, Delaware and Bradley. The Jaguars lost to visiting Springfield 44-7 on Aug. 30, their worst loss since a 38-point setback of 69-31 to Westerville Central in 2013.
That same year, Bradley lost its opener to Marysville 21-7, which was LoParo's other season-opening loss.
"Springfield is one of the best football teams that I have ever coached against," LoParo said. "They could do it all. That sophomore quarterback (Te'Sean Smoot) could spin it, and we couldn't get to him with any kind of pressure.
"We had 14 kids on the field without (varsity) game experience, and you never know how they will do under Friday night lights. Now we have to make some adjustments and work to shore things up."
Springfield rushed for 320 of its 560 total yards and limited Bradley to 203 yards, including 136 on the ground.
Quarterback A.J. Mirgon led the Jaguars in rushing (15 carries, 87 yards) and passing (10-for-21 for 67 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception). The first-time starter connected with Tayshaun Mayfield on a 9-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter.
"(The Jaguars) are a really good football team and they don't have a lot of holes," Schroeder said. "Offensively, they spread the field with good athletes, and they make you defend the width of the field.
"They bring a lot of pressure defensively, and we have to be ready for their linebacker pressure as well as their strong defensive backfield. Our kids are excited about the challenge of playing one of the area's best teams from the past few years."