Coach Brian White of the Hilliard Davidson High School football team and coach Anthony Thornton of Brookhaven vividly recall last season's meeting between their teams.

Davidson escaped with a 14-13 victory, but both coaches agreed that the Bearcats easily could have won the game.

They will meet again Friday at Davidson.

"I'm sure they look at last year's game and think that they blew it, and I will be the first to say that we were probably very, very fortunate," said White, whose team opened last Friday with a 35-0 pasting of Westerville South. "I don't necessarily believe in the concept of luck, but they probably look at us as being very lucky to win that game last year."

Davidson blocked two fields goal and Brookhaven couldn't convert an extra point on one of its two touchdowns.

"We watched that the game again (last Sunday)," said Thornton, who is in his first season as head coach after being the offensive coordinator the previous five seasons. "We did everything we wanted to do offensively except score the football. We had some very, very costly mistakes that kept us out of the end zone."

Despite the loss, Brookhaven went on to qualify for the Division I playoffs and finished 9-2. Davidson went 7-3 and didn't make the playoffs.

The Wildcats' game plan is simple: wear down the opponent with a punishing ground attack. Davidson used that plan to perfection against South, rushing for 246 yards. Quarterback Jake Trubiano (6-foot-0, 184 pounds) scored on runs of 38, 5 and 6 yards and accounted for 147 yards of offense.

"Watching them (last Sunday), I think the quarterback may be a tad better than the kid (Connor Dietz) that they had last year," Thornton said. "He has more breakaway ability, so we're going to have to tackle."

Entering the season, Thornton called the defensive front line the strength of his team. The Bearcats will need a strong effort from that unit to contain the Wildcats' ground attack.

Leading the charge should be seniors Karlonte Hagens (5-10, 215) and Chris Thigpen (6-0, 215) and juniors Derrick Bryant (6-4, 235) and D.J. Greggs.

Bryant, a transfer from Gahanna, is considered one of the top juniors in the country.

"Brookhaven is one of the best athletic teams in the City League," White said. "We're extremely concerned. They have a big-time transfer from Gahanna, a top-rated prospect as a junior. Brookhaven always has a good team. They are well-disciplined. We know it's going to be a big challenge."

Brookhaven defeated Chillicothe despite losing four fumbles. Senior running back Andrew Herrell rushed for 256 yards on 14 carries.

After playing behind graduate Rodney Stewart, who rushed for 1,970 yards and 25 touchdowns last season, Herrell shined in his new role.

The Bearcats will need similar success from Herrell if it plans on spoiling Davidson's home opener.

If Brookhaven can't generate a ground attack, it will need an improved performance from quarterback Philip Johnson, who fumbled four times against Chillicothe. Johnson is replacing graduate Aquante Braswell, who passed for 17 touchdowns and more than 1,300 yards last season.

White said his defense should receive a boost as senior defensive tackle Josh Gelber (5-7, 155) might play after missing the opener with a sprained ankle.

That defense forced four South turnovers, resulting in 20 points.

"It's going to be a battle of attrition," Thornton said. "Their style versus ours. They did a better job than we did last year. All games come down to your line. Our offensive line played well enough for us to grind out 300 yards on the ground against Chillicothe. We just turned the ball over a ton of times. That just cannot happen this week. We're counting on our defensive line to get better than they were last week."