Winning sometimes can be difficult for a young football team to handle, according to first-year Hilliard Davidson coach Jeremey Scally.
He said his team might have been a little overconfident heading into its 20-7 loss to Olentangy Orange on Sept. 4 to open OCC-Central Division play.
He expects his players to be better prepared when the Wildcats play host to Hilliard Bradley on Friday, Sept. 11, in their first matchup as league rivals following OCC realignment.
“With a young, inexperienced team, sometimes it’s harder to handle success than failure, and that falls 100 percent on my shoulders,” said Scally, whose team opened by defeating Hilliard Darby 17-13 on Aug. 27 and is 1-1. “We learned a hard but valuable lesson.
“Orange outplayed us in every phase of the game. They out-hit us, they out-disciplined us, they ‘out-energied’ us, if that’s even a word. We were flat out out-everything-ed by them.”
Bradley is searching for its first win after losing 7-6 at home to Upper Arlington on Sept. 4 in its league opener to fall to 0-2. The Jaguars allowed UA to march down to score on its opening possession but shut out the Golden Bears after that.
“We had a drive that ended with an interception in the red zone and another where we fumbled the ball at the (UA) 5(-yard line) while taking it in (to score),” Jaguars coach Mike LoParo said. “We have to put the ball in the end zone.
“The kids are getting further and further along with what (new offensive coordinator Steve Trivisonno) wants to do. It’s a matter of getting it going and being consistent. The kids need to gain confidence in what they’re doing as they learn the offense.”
Quarterback A.J. Mirgon scored on a 4-yard run for the Jaguars as he rushed for 61 yards on 15 carries. He also was 14-for-23 passing for 127 yards with one interception. Tayshaun Mayfield ran for a team-high 89 yards on 14 carries, and Justice Ross had five receptions for 44 yards.
“Their record is no indication of how good (the Jaguars) are,” Scally said. “That program knows how to win. They have tough kids that will compete. They throw a little bit of everything at you and give you a lot of different looks that you need to prepare for.”
Leo Nixon led the Wildcats with 88 yards rushing and one score on 18 carries against Orange, and Jonathan Weir added 28 yards on eight carries. Quarterback Blake Pettit had 30 yards on eight runs, but was only 1-for-6 passing for 3 yards.
“(Davidson’s) schemes are different than in the past but they’re also similar,” LoParo said. “They still run the ball and live by the option, and the line still gets off the ball hard.
“Nixon and Weir are fantastic running backs, and Pettit has been throwing the ball well and can run the ball. They have a three-headed backfield that we have to stop.”
Davidson has won the last two meetings — 17-10 in 2018 and 17-9 last fall — and holds a 3-2 edge in the series. The Jaguars’ last victory was 28-10 in 2017.