Both the Olentangy Orange and Dublin Coffman football teams found out a lot about themselves in their OCC-Central Division openers Sept. 4.
The Shamrocks learned they could take a punch and rally to victory, and the Pioneers found their way into the end zone. Both teams hope to find continued success in a league game Friday, Sept. 11, at Coffman. It will be the first meeting between the programs.
Coffman fell behind Olentangy Liberty 14-0 but came back for a 24-17 victory as the defense held the Patriots scoreless in the second half.
“I think that probably the thing I liked most about (the comeback) was that there was no panic,” said Shamrocks coach Mark Crabtree, whose team is 2-0. "We understood we were playing a good team and a good program, and our league in particular is filled with incredibly tough games. That’s why no one panicked in that situation. We understand the opponent that we were playing.
“Every week in this league will be different but very similar. Football is a game that you can’t necessarily worry or harp on results over a quarter or a half but only the results of the game. You look at the outcome and not so much just the bits and pieces of it.”
Orange coach Zebb Schroeder watched his team improve to 1-1 with a 20-7 victory over Hilliard Davidson, a week after the Pioneers lost 7-3 to Olentangy on Aug. 28.
“We scored touchdowns when we got in the ‘green zone,’ ” Schroeder said. “We call it the green zone instead of red because it’s where you make your money on the field.
“We capitalized on drives by scoring touchdowns. Against Olentangy, we moved the ball but didn’t score touchdowns. We had a concerted effort and put a plan in play to score. I thought we played with more emotion (against Davidson). We played faster and we were more physical.”
Coffman quarterback Connor Mathews was an efficient 13-for-15 passing for 234 yards and two touchdowns against Liberty. He also led the team with 85 yards rushing on 18 carries.
Running back Bryon Threats ran for 69 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries and also had five receptions for 108 yards and one score. Slotback Sheron Phipps had five receptions for 88 yards, which included the game-winning 67-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter
“They have such good team speed, and they pair that with size,” Schroeder said. “They don’t have any holes.
“(Mathews) is a really good all-around player, and they have one of the best players if not ‘the’ best player in the area (in Threats). He’s like (former Westerville South and current Boston College player) Jaelen Gill. Every time he touches the ball, you hold your breath and hope you play good team defense and tackle him. They give you a lot to cover.”
Orange quarterback Josh Laisure was 10-for-15 passing for 98 yards and two touchdowns against Davidson. He also rushed for 34 yards on 12 carries.
Running back Luke Applegate led in rushing with 60 yards and one score on 12 carries. Wide receiver Julian DiSabato had five receptions for 46 yards, and wide receiver Caden Konczak caught three passes for 8 yards but two were for touchdowns.
“They run a ton of formations,” Crabtree said. “(Laisure) is a good athlete, and he’s got some toughness to him. He’s got a command of what they want him to do.
“They’ve got some good receivers, but their game is that they want to run the football. They do it in a lot of different ways, so you have to recognize the formations they give you.”