Orange Lutheran players take turns hitting a tackling dummy Monday on the first day of full-pads practice. The team will be the first in the county to play a game this season when it takes on Pickerington High School in Ohio on Aug. 30.

Time for some football

Time for some football

Check out photos from Orange Lutheran and Servite practices, plus a Q&A with one of the top QBs in the county.

Click on the photo to view a slideshow of the start of the 2009 football practice.

ORANGE - At the conclusion of its first full-contact practice, the Orange Lutheran football team huddled near midfield on Monday and in unison shouted “Ohio!”

Despite being more than two weeks away from hopping on a plane to travel to Columbus, Ohio, the Lancers displayed that the only thing on their minds is their season opener against Pickerington Central of Ohio at Ohio State.

Leading the way offensively for Orange Lutheran is senior quarterback Bobby Wheatley, who is entering his second full season as the starter. spoke to Wheatley at the conclusion of the Lancers' practice Monday evening. 

Question: How did it feel to get back in the saddle today, putting on the pads and having full contact for the first time?
Bobby Wheatley: It felt good. We are just excited to get back out here and put all the work in.

Q: Are you approaching this season differently, being as it’s your second full year being the starting quarterback?
BW: I mean I still have the same responsibilities so no not really. Obviously we have new personnel and I have to get used to the timing with my receivers and what not, but it’s the same approach.

Q: Being a senior, are you now taking more of a leadership role on the team?
BW: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I was a leader last year, as a quarterback you have to be. But being a senior, you just have to step it up that much more.

Q: What is your team’s offensive strengths entering the season?
BW: Last year we were running the ball a lot. We had four good running backs. Only two of them are coming back, but Damani (Wilson) and (Garret) Gilliand are both really solid. We don’t think we are necessarily going to run the ball as much, but we are going to be a balanced attack.

Q: Who are some newcommers on offense to keep an eye out for this season?
BW:Well, Damani Wilson was our third or fourth running back last year and is a state champion in the 4x400 [relay], so he is definitely a speedster, so watch out for him.

Q: How do you feel you stack up against the rest of the Trinity League?
BW: We are always right up in there, but we know how good of a league we are in. We just have to put in the work and can’t make any predictions this early in the year.

Q: How excited are you to travel to Ohio to play at the Horseshoe for your season opener?
BW: I’m pumped. When I heard we were playing there my jaw dropped. It’s just an unbelievable experience that we have been blessed to be able to go there. Looking forward to it.

Q: If everything goes well, how far do you think this team can go this year?
BW: Oh, as far as we want to. It’s up to us.

Look for a Q&A with Coach Jim Kunau to be posted here Tuesday.

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