The Upper Arlington football team might have been forced into taking some chances in its season opener Aug. 30 at Reynoldsburg because of a 16-0 third-quarter deficit, but coach Jeremey Scally hopes the Golden Bears served notice in a 23-9 loss that they will be resilient and aggressive no matter the situation.
"We will make calls to win. We'll go with our gut. If it's a two-point conversion here, an onside kick, a blitz there, whatever we think will give us a chance to win, that's what we'll do," Scally said. "The one thing at night that probably keeps me up more than anything is to be a coach of a team that quits and our guys never quit."
Chris Schweisthal rushed for 63 yards on 20 carries and Lucas Arce got the Bears' only touchdown on a 1-yard run with 3 minutes, 53 seconds left in the third quarter. That made it 16-6 before the ensuing two-point conversion try failed.
But thanks to a successful onside kick moments later and an interception by Shaun DuPont, UA allowed Reynoldsburg to run only one offensive play in a span of 10:20 from midway through the third quarter to early in the fourth.
The Raiders sealed the win on Michael Whatley's 9-yard touchdown pass to Shon Strickland with 2:29 left.
UA will go for its first win Friday, Sept. 6, when it plays host to Dayton Belmont in refurbished Marv Moorehead Stadium. New home stands and a new press box were built this spring as part of widespread construction of the new high school.
Bears quarterback Jake Leve will try to build on a season debut in which he completed all six of his pass attempts for 99 yards. His top receiver was Sam Cannon, who had four catches for 86 yards.
"Jacob 100 percent grew up (Aug. 30)," Scally said. "If you'd have said our defense would play like that, I'd have been very pleased. It sure seems like there's enough there, but if you keep talking about how close you are, you're having that conversation after a loss."
Belmont opened Aug. 29 with a 28-27 overtime loss at Troy.
Quarterback Rian Reaves ran for two second-half touchdowns, the first of which gave the Bison a 15-14 lead late in the third quarter. The second tied the game at 21 with 3:26 left in the fourth.
Reaves connected with Joddi Burton on a 4-yard shovel pass for a touchdown in overtime, but Belmont went for two points and the win and came up short.
The Bison, who replaced Findlay on UA's schedule, are four-time defending Dayton City League champions. Belmont went 0-10 in 2013 before current coach Earl White took over, and White has gone 34-17 with playoff appearances in Division III in 2015 and 2016 and Division II in 2017.