Whatever was wrong with Olentangy’s offense over the first two weeks of the season wasn’t apparent Friday night.
Olentangy surpassed its previous two-week point total by the end of the first quarter and rolled to a 53-33 win over Holland Springfield in non-league play in Lewis Center.
“That’s who we are,” senior Luke Riedel said. “We’ve got a lot of talent. We’ve got a lot of guys that can score. So, that’s truly who we are when we put a lot of points up on the board.”
Riedel ran for a touchdown and returned a punt for a score and running backs Zach Shiblaq and Trevor Solis ran for two touchdowns apiece to pace Olentangy (1-2).
“We haven’t been getting good play up front and we made a change at quarterback,” Olentangy coach Mark Solis said. “I think that was good. We did a lot of really good things this week and that’s good because we haven’t done a lot of good things the first two weeks.”
Shiblaq broke a 56-yard run in the first quarter.
But, it was Riedel’s 23-yarder on the first play after a Landon Johnson interception that really turned things in Olentangy’s favor.
“Our O-line – they played their butts off,” Riedel said. “They created a big hole for me. I saw the hole and just hit it hard.”
Riedel followed it up with a 64-yard punt return as Olentangy (1-2) built a 29-7 lead at the end of one.
“Last year, our special teams was not as good as we wanted it to be,” Riedel said. “For us to have all these yards on punt return, especially a punt return, is great.”
Springfield quarterback AJ Gucciardo threw four touchdown passes, including two to receiver Devin Johnson.
He also found Nate Stuckey on a 7-yard score before Josiah Pressley found the end zone with a 1-yard run to cut the Blue Devil deficit to 29-19 with a little over seven minutes left in the half.
Every time Springfield made a move, though, Olentangy responded.
Caden Kaiser caught a short slant and ran 72 yards for a touchdown, avoiding the last defender with a stop-and-start cut-back at the 15 before scoring to give Olentangy a 17-point lead.
Brady Pethtel added a 38-yard field goal with 25 seconds left to account for Olentangy’s 39-19 halftime lead.
The teams played even in the second half. It took Springfield (2-1) two plays to find the end zone in the third. Pressley broke off a 48-yard run to set up a Gucciardo touchdown pass to Johnson from 32 yards out and the Devils seemed on their way.
But, Olentangy just wouldn’t concede ground. Jace Middleton returned the ensuing kick 52 yards and Shiblaq broke free on a 38-yard run to set up Solis’ second score – a 2-yard run.
“We did really well in special teams tonight,” Mark Solis said. “It’s been a point of emphasis. We had some tremendous return yardage tonight – both in the punt-return game and the kick-return game. We made some changes on the back-end. So, that was good.”
Shiblaq scored his second touchdown on Olentangy’s next drive to push the lead to 53-26 with 5:45 left in the third.
Guccardi hooked up with Brady Fisher on a 5-yard touchdown pass with 49 seconds left in the third to account for the final scoring.
Next up, Olentangy continues non-league action at Dublin Coffman Friday night at 7 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.