Olentangy Liberty at Upper Arlington: Golden Bears, Patriots to meet for first time since 2015
The Olentangy Liberty and Upper Arlington football teams meet Friday, Sept. 11, coming off games that did not necessarily play out how they had expected.
The host Golden Bears scored on the first drive of their OCC-Central Division opener Sept. 4 at Hilliard Bradley and were shut out from there but leaned on their defense to get a 7-6 win.
That same night, the Patriots led visiting Dublin Coffman 14-0 in the second quarter only to give up 17 unanswered points and fall behind for good in a 24-17 loss to open OCC-Central play.
Both teams are 1-1.
“Everyone knows that every win you get in this league is a great one. It’s so competitive,” UA coach Justin Buttermore said. “We get to see another great program this week. Their coaching staff has been together a long time and you know what they’re doing on both sides of the ball. We’ll be tested again. I think we’ll be tested every week.”
Carson Gresock rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries to lead the Bears past Bradley, which committed two turnovers. Gresock has shouldered the load for UA’s running game with 67 carries for 332 yards and two scores through two weeks.
Quarterback Simon Monnin has completed 21 of 47 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
Linebackers Carter Brock (19 tackles) and Marco Landolfi (15.5 tackles) lead the defense.
Liberty quarterback Mitch Fields completed 22 of 30 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown against Coffman, and for the season is 39-for-52 for 462 yards and four touchdowns with no interception.
Running back Aidan Kenley had 23 carries for 96 yards against the Shamrocks but has yet to reach the end zone.
“They’re definitely a spread team but Kenley is a terrific player. He can change direction quickly. For being 185 pounds, he runs like he’s a lot bigger than that,” Buttermore said. “They’ll show us a three-man front most of the time (defensively).
“(Parker Flinn) is an excellent linebacker, probably the leader of the defense. They play with terrific effort. They’re big up front and their secondary with (Cam) Barcus and (Dom) Magistrale is solid.”
According to Buttermore, UA also is dealing with a few injuries from the Bradley game, including one to Gresock that forced him to leave late.
Liberty leads the all-time series 4-0.
The Bears and Patriots have not met since 2015, the last time they were aligned together in the OCC-Central before this year.
OLENTANGY LIBERTY at UPPER ARLINGTON
•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11
•Last meeting: 2015, Liberty 42-17
•Liberty (1-1 overall, 0-1 in OCC-Central) to date: Defeated Olentangy Berlin 35-21; lost to Dublin Coffman 24-17
•UA (1-1 overall, 1-0 in OCC-Central) to date: Lost to Westerville Central 28-23; def. Hilliard Bradley 7-6
•Top Patriots: Cam Barcus (WR), Jacob Bonacci (DL/TE), Mitch Fields (QB), Aidan Kenley (RB), Dom Magistrale (WR), Tyler Rosselli (RB/WR), Drew Thornton (DB), Matthew Wrather (OL) and Brian Yamokoski (LB)
•Top Golden Bears: Doak Buttermore (DB/RB), Sam Cannon (WR/KR), Dominic Chiavaroli (DL), Jack Flowers (OL), Carson Gresock (RB), Shea Keethler (DB), Marco Landolfi (LB), Simon Monnin (QB) and Matt Weaver (LB)