Not far removed from the lingering question of whether there would even be a football season, most central Ohio programs ended up kicking off Week 1 as originally scheduled.
It felt like old times watching Hilliard Davidson consume four minutes of the clock while putting together a 10-play, 80-yard game-winning drive to beat Hilliard Darby 17-13 on Aug. 27.
There also were moments in games like DeSales-Watterson on Aug. 28 that the intensity felt the same as in any other year.
Add in that several games had weather delays and crowds were limited because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and it’ll end up as one of the most memorable opening weekends in the history of Ohio high school football.
Here are five things we learned from Week 1:
1. DeSales rallies for a victory over Watterson.
In one of the tightest games played Aug. 28, DeSales trailed most of the night but rallied for a 28-22 overtime victory in the first contest played at Watterson after the Eagles previously played at Hagely Field or in other venues. Field hockey and soccer games also have been played at the Watterson field, which has limited bleacher seating.
The Stallions got three touchdown runs from Quintell Quinn, including the game-winner from 4 yards in overtime, to win the first of a home-and-home series against Watterson.
2. Worthington schools get out to strong starts.
Both Worthington Kilbourne and Thomas Worthington were impressive in their openers Aug. 28.
Kilbourne went just 1-9 last season while Canal Winchester went 9-2 and made the Division II playoffs, but Wolves quarterback Mitchell Tomasek threw for 237 yards and three touchdowns as his team won 33-14.
Thomas hasn’t posted a winning record since 1999 but won its third opener in four seasons Aug. 28, beating Newark 30-0 as quarterback Isaac Settles rushed for 181 yards and one touchdown and threw for two scores.
3. Dublin Coffman made an impressive opening statement.
While the Shamrocks were expected to be one of central Ohio’s top teams this fall, they controlled the action from the get-go during a 41-6 victory over Dublin Jerome on Aug. 28.
Coffman, which led 34-6 by halftime, got 195 total yards and four touchdowns from Bryon Threats and a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Connor Mathews as it improved to 5-0 all-time in the series.
4. Big Walnut, Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy also beat neighboring foes.
There were three matchups between Delaware County opponents, with Big Walnut beating Delaware Hayes 14-6, Olentangy Liberty defeating Olentangy Berlin 35-21 and Olentangy edging Olentangy Orange 7-3.
It marked the first matchup between Liberty and Berlin, with the Patriots finally taking control of a back-and-forth contest as quarterback Mitch Fields threw for two second-half touchdowns.
Big Walnut beat Delaware in its first game under new coach Rob Page, and Olentangy’s defense made a first-quarter 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kaden Doup stand up.
5. City League programs weren’t on the field, but they will be soon.
After Columbus City Schools paused all athletics indefinitely Aug. 13 because of the pandemic, the City League’s 15 football programs learned Aug. 27 that they would be allowed to begin practicing again two days later.
While no timetable has been set for when those teams will play their first game, the initial return to practice at least provides hope that contests for those programs will be coming soon.