Upper Arlington at Hilliard Bradley: Bears, Jaguars aiming for better execution
A pair of teams looking for answers will meet when Upper Arlington visits Hilliard Bradley on Friday, Sept. 4, to begin OCC-Central Division play.
The Golden Bears lost their opener to Westerville Central 28-23 on Aug. 28, and the Jaguars lost a road matchup with Marysville 17-0 that night.
The programs will be playing for the first time.
Junior running back Carson Gresock rushed for 154 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries to lead UA against Central. He also caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Simon Monnin, who completed 12 of 27 passes for 144 yards with one score and one interception.
"(The Bears) are a spread team that utilizes the tight end, so they have an extra gap, and (Gresock) runs the ball hard," Bradley coach Mike LoParo said. "He's shifty and has good balance. They have a big offensive line, but they are different from Marysville because they are more of a zone (blocking) team. They will be a handful to defend.
"I like the quarterback (Monnin). He makes good decisions and doesn't throw the ball in harm's way. They seem to throw as much as they run."
Senior quarterback A.J. Mirgon led the Jaguars in rushing and passing in the opener. He completed 15 of 29 passes for 156 yards and one interception, and rushed for 79 yards on 19 carries.
"(Mirgon) is an explosive kid and is a danger when he runs," first-year UA coach Justin Buttermore said. "They have some good targets and talents to go with him.
"I thought their defense played well. They held their own against a strong, physical team. That was an excellent Marysville team that they hung with all night."
LoParo said his team was not able to adapt to the offense installed by new offensive coordinator Steve Trivisonno, who joined Bradley after 23 seasons as the coach at northeast Ohio power Mentor.
Trivisonno won 209 games while leading Mentor to 16 playoff appearances, including four state runner-up finishes.
"We got inside the (Marysville) 20(-yard line) three times and didn't score," LoParo said. "A lot of it might have been the new offense. It's not like coach Triv comes down and we score 65 points per game. You have to execute the plays correctly.
"The beauty of this season is that all that really matters is that you get better each week. You need to be playing your best as you approach the playoffs."
Buttermore was an assistant coach at Hilliard Davidson under Brian White before coaching at Tri-Valley from 2004-17. He was at Granville in 2018-19 before coming to UA.
He said both his team and Central made mistakes that commonly occur in the preseason because teams had less preparation time because of the COVID-19 coronavirus protocols.
"(The opener) was like a second scrimmage for both of us," Buttermore said. "They haven't practiced a lot of that either. There was sloppiness on both sides.
"We will get better. We will clean it up. (The players) understand that they didn't play their best but we want to be great at the end of the season."
UPPER ARLINGTON at HILLIARD BRADLEY
*When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4
*Last meeting: First meeting
*UA (0-1) to date: Lost to Westerville Central 28-23
*Bradley (0-1) to date: Lost to Marysville 17-0
*Top Golden Bears: Doak Buttermore (RB/DB), Sam Cannon (WR), Carson Gresock (RB), Shea Keethler (DB), Marco Landolfi (LB), Simon Monnin (QB) and Matt Weaver (LB)
*Top Jaguars: Tayshaun Mayfield (WR), A.J. Mirgon (QB), Jack Pugh (TE/DL), Kenyon Richardson (WR), Chance Roberts (OL/DL), Mitchell Robinson (LB), Jordan Thompson (DB), Caden VanVorhis (RB/DB) and Walter Williams (DL)