It’s easy to credit the Olentangy football team for being the offensive juggernaut it is.
But credit the defense for posting a near perfect performance in a 35-13 win over Grove City Friday night.
“It’s a good win … (Grove City) is a storied program with lots of tradition,” Olentangy coach Mark Solis said.
Olentangy (2-0) held the Greyhounds to minus-30 yards and one first down as it built a 28-0 lead in the first half thanks to a combined four sacks by Jacob Slade and Xavier Harrison.
“(Slade and Harrison) keep getting better,” Solis said. “They played physical. A lot of their success is due to what they did in the weight room – they worked really hard.”
Grove City (0-2) had minus-11 yards of total offense until late in the third quarter and finished with 135 yards, including 100 through the air by quarterback Austin Sigler, who finished 5-for-11. The 35 rushing yards came on 36 attempts.
“I thought we were physical,” Solis said. “I thought our guys up front did a really good job controlling the line of scrimmage. I thought we did a great job tackling. Our scout teams did a really good job of getting our guys ready.”
The Greyhounds hurt themselves with eight penalties for 80 yards as well.
Grove City was held without a first down until its fourth drive – its first possession of the second quarter.
Slade came up with a sack on third down in each of the first two possessions and an interception by Deonta Mack on the last play of the first quarter ended the Greyhounds’ third drive.
Olentangy’s offense got off to a fast start with a 5-play, 53-yard drive on its first possession, capped by an Ali Iverson 3-yard touchdown. Quarterback Connor Haag found Sam Durst for 32 yards to set it up.
Iverson led Olentangy with 69 yards rushing on 22 carries and a touchdown.
Olentangy’s offense was limited until Haag fired touchdown passes to Durst, Caden Kaiser and Nathan Riedel in the final 6:25 of the second quarter.
“When defenses are giving you certain things — (Grove City) was packing eight guys in the box, sometimes nine – you have to go up top and loosen that defense up, and we were able to do that,” Solis said.
Durst caught a 39-pass over the top, Kaiser went 34-yards making a couple of defenders miss along the way and Reidel caught a 3-yard pass over the middle at the halftime gun.
Haag finished 19-for-27 with 255 yards passing and 1 interception.
Olentangy’s Cam Kennedy had 60 yards rushing on 11 attempts and a touchdown, a 21-yard scamper up the middle with 4:10 left in the third quarter.
Ethan Hall scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and led the Greyhounds with 43 yards rushing on nine carries. He also topped the team with 6.5 tackles and an interception.
“I didn’t like how we played in the second half,” Solis said. “I don’t think we had the same intensity. We’ve gotta improve that this week.”
Next, Olentangy hosts Reynoldsburg Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.