When Olentangy Orange football coach Zebb Schroeder talked about building a football program before the 2015 season – he pointed to his lines.

“We have some very good big kids – we just don’t have very much depth at the offensive and defensive lines,” he said at the time.

Fast forward three years later and the Pioneers are replacing a lot of skill position players on offense and much of the back end of their defense.

They lost Bryce Houston, Zane Fisher, Jimmy Sensibaugh, Garrett Runyon and Jayden Rodgers – all key cogs on a defense that held opponents to just 13.3 points and less than 250 yards per game.

They lost their top two leading rushers in Jack Applegate and Graham Starn, quarterback Luke Schmeling and his top target Manny Anderson on offense.

But, Schroeder (22-20 in four seasons) has a lot of linemen at his disposal – making that transition a whole lot easier.

“That’s a lot of skill-player production,” Schroeder said. “I think the one thing that we have that can sort of mask some of the inexperience … we have a lot of very good linemen back. We’re excited about what we can do up front on both sides of the ball.”

One of those linemen is one of the top recruits in the state, if not the country in Zach Harrison. The star defensive end had 17.5 tackles-for-loss and 7.5 sacks as a junior last year.

He’ll also contribute more on offense at wide receiver – a position he’s played in the past.

Junior Jeff Sullivan (center) and seniors Zach Stevenson (guard) and Ryan Duffy (tackle) return to play on a very strong offensive line.

They’ll be protecting Robbie Dayhuff (senior) at quarterback and running back Mark Roberts (senior).

The defense has a lot to replace for sure, but senior Brant Kightlinger and Kyle Sessaman join Harrison on the line. Zach Hill moves off the line to linebacker and Dayhuff and fellow seniors Ethan Adkins and Brad Snyder should shore up the secondary.

The Pioneers are coming off their best record in school history at 11-2 overall. But, their season hinged on just two points.

They were a point away from winning the OCC Buckeye (their first league title since 2011) and finishing the regular season undefeated for the first time in school history. They were a point away from picking up the school’s second ever playoff victory.

“As a coaching staff – you look at the big picture,” Schroeder said. “What can we do a little bit better? What’s that one thing that’s going to take us over the top?”

Even with all of the changes – Schroeder believes he’s seen that this group has the ability to keep the momentum rolling.

Olentangy Orange lineman Zach Harrison, left, works against Jared Pack during a practice earlier this summer.
http://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2018/08/web1_harrison.jpgOlentangy Orange lineman Zach Harrison, left, works against Jared Pack during a practice earlier this summer. Ben Stroup | Gazette

Senior quarterback Robbie Dayhuff will look to pick up where Luke Schmeling and last year’s offense left off when the season gets underway.
http://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2018/08/web1_dayhuff.jpgSenior quarterback Robbie Dayhuff will look to pick up where Luke Schmeling and last year’s offense left off when the season gets underway. Ben Stroup | Gazette
Linemen lead Olentangy Orange into season

By Michael Rich

For the Gazette


Aug. 24 — Vs. Worthington Kilbourne, 7 p.m.

Aug. 31 — Vs. Bishop Watterson, 7 p.m.

Sep. 7 — @ Pickerington North, 7 p.m.

Sep. 14 — Vs. Big Walnut, 7 p.m.

Sep. 21 — @ Westland, 7 p.m.

Sep. 28 — @ Westerville North, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 — Vs. Olentangy, 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 — @ Westerville Central, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 — @ Olentangy Liberty, 7 p.m.

Oct. 26 — Vs. Westerville South, 7 p.m.

2017 RESULTS (9-2, 4-1 OCC Buckeye)

Aug. 25 — @ Worthington Kilbourne, W, 32-7

Sep. 1 — @ Bishop Watterson, W, 22-0

Sep. 8 — Vs. Dublin Jerome, W, 31-7

Sep. 15 — @ Big Walnut, W, 35-10

Sep. 22 — Vs. Newark, W, 50-14

Sep. 29 — Vs. Westerville North, W, 26-0

Oct. 6 — @ Olentangy, W, 30-28

Oct. 12 — Vs. Westerville Central, W, 35-10

Oct. 20 — Vs. Olentangy Liberty, L, 25-24

Oct. 27 — @ Westerville South, W, 35-7

Nov. 3 — Vs. Gahanna Lincoln, L, 38-37 (OT, D-I regional quarterfinal)


1 Caden Konczak

2 Mark Roberts

3 Matt Momburg

4 Jack Fenton

5 Colin Mcnay

6 Zach Hill

7 Ryan Dunn

8 Robbie Dayhuff

9 Griffin Runyon

10 Mitchell Gifford

11 Ian Enders

12 Josh Laisure

13 Zach Harrison

14 Spencer Hawkins

15 Luke Applegate

16 Zane Lattig

17 Ryan Swiger

19 Brant Kightlinger

20 Dom Davis

21 Julian Disabato

22 Jake Vanchieri

23 Alex Lopez

24 Reece Dunham

25 Brad Snyder

26 Ethan Adkins

27 Joey Guagenti

29 Hamed Sesay

30 Eli Payne

31 Cameron Baisden

32 Christian Phillips

33 Henry Groce

34 Evan Leist

35 Logan Larivee

36 Sam Sells

37 Dylan Buchanan

38 Jace Weibel

39 Casey Baisden

41 Truman Heilshorn

42 Caleb Lindley

44 Jack Almond

46 Aidan Toombs

47 Dylan Townsend

48 Doug Diller

49 Joey Dimeo

50 Mason Faulkner

51 Cardan Mutai

52 Tyler Yanka

54 Luke Brandt

60 Connor Mathena

61 Ryan Minott

62 Aidan Mcdonald

63 Antonio Mitchell

64 Dale Sickman

65 Carter Bluvol

67 Dom Silvestri

68 Kyle Collins

70 Tanner Lester

72 Jeff Sullivan

73 Najib Talukder

75 Ryan Duffy

76 Zach Stevenson

77 Geoffrey Kaminski

78 Julian Cummings

79 Jared Pack

80 Jadon Ampadu

81 Nate Miller

82 Will Angelis

83 Anthony Wong

84 Christian Wright

85 Sam Wyne

86 Aidan Hill

87 Kellen Sargent

88 Dylan Dempsey

99 Kyle Sessamen

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at [email protected].