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Game of the Week: Olentangy Liberty vs. Upper Arlington Preview

By Danny Fogarty, 09/30/21, 9:00AM EDT


A preview of this week's Game of the Week between the Olentangy Liberty and Upper Arlington.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Upper Arlington has walked over central Ohio football teams all season.  Yet, it seems that the Golden Bears' matchup against Olentangy Liberty will be their toughest challenge yet.

The Golden Bears will take on the Patriots at Olentangy Patriot Field this Friday night at 7 p.m.

Upper Arlington (6-0) currently holds the top spot in the OCC-Central, but Liberty (4-2) could change that order with a win. 

Upper Arlington coach Justin Buttermore said he has nothing but respect for the Patriots as they are one of the best teams the Golden Bears will play.

"They are very solid, we think it's as good a team as we've faced," Buttermore said. "You're not going to trick them,  you're not going to surprise them."

Last time these teams met was last season when Olentangy Liberty defeated the Golden Bears 21-14.

Both teams are different this year, however, with Upper Arlington especially having a much more effective offense.

The Golden Bears' offense averaged 37.5 points per game this year scoring more than 30 points in each week.

Buttermore said that his team will need to continue to score not only on offense, but on defense and special teams if they want to beat Liberty.

"We've gotten our points out of all three phases of the game," Buttermore said. "In order to defeat Liberty, it's gonna have to be much of the same."

The Golden Bears will need production from star running back Carson Gresock.

Gresock has averaged 9.5 yards per carry and scored 17 touchdowns including a Week 3 game against Westerville Central where he reached the end zone five times.

Class of 2021 senior wide receiver Dominick Magistrale gets set during a 2020 game against Dublin Coffman.

Since losing in Week 3 to St. Xavier, the Patriots have only allowed a total of 24 points giving them an average of eight points allowed per game over that stretch.

Over those three games, Liberty has beaten each of their opponents, which includes teams like Olentangy Berlin and Dublin Coffman, by two possessions or more.

On the flipside, the Golden Bears have not allowed more than 14 points in a game since Week 1.

Buttermore said that his team will need to continue this defensive effectiveness by preventing the Patriots from getting impactful plays.

"We're gonna have to prevent the big play," Buttermore said. "Anytime you can do that, you have a much better chance of making them make a mistake."

One of the main goals on defense for the Golden Bears will be getting through Liberty's offensive line led by senior tackle Carter Smith.

Smith is an Indiana-commit and has allowed the Patriots' offense to thrive both on the ground and in the air.

On Friday night at 7 p.m. at Liberty's Olentangy Patriot Stadium, the Upper Arlington will see if they can stay undefeated while the Patriots will try to catch an important in-conference win at home.