The offense was plagued with botched handoffs, fumbled snaps and negative yardage plays. The defense was torched for 328 total yards.

In all, the Worthington Kilbourne High School football team lost its first game of the season in spectacular - and surprising - fashion.

"I can make up a million excuses," coach Vince Trombetti said of his team's 34-9 loss to Upper Arlington last Friday. "I'm not. We didn't take care of business. I saw kids on film do things they haven't done and not do things they've done every week. Our performance was so erratic. I guess that's the beauty of why you play the game. You're putting it in the hands of 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds, and you don't know what you're going to get."

Kilbourne, which is 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Central Division, will play host Friday to Westland, which has lost its last two games to Hilliard Davidson (58-0 on Sept. 12) and Dublin Coffman (55-0 last Friday) by a combined 113-0 and is 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the OCC.

The Wolves are focused on their fundamentals and assignments. Westland may be 1-14 the last two seasons combined, but Kilbourne is not taking it easy, especially after last Friday's performance.

"Not being distracted by things going on during games or letting emotion distract you - that's been our point of emphasis this week, Trombetti said. "Sometimes, it makes you nervous going into a game like Westland, who ha struggled so much, the kids think it's an easy game."

Westland's victory came Aug. 30 against Cleveland John Marshall 30-20. The Cougars and second-year coach Brian Smith employ a triple-option attack that has struggled to take hold.

"It is a difficult offense to execute," Smith said. "We're still getting comfortable with the offense and it's not something you learn overnight. It's getting a little better as the season goes on."

Westland still is uncertain in its quarterback situation as Jared South and Kalvin Cowsen both took snaps last Friday. South saw a majority of the time, rushing for 32 yards on 11 carries and going 3-for-12 passing for 56 yards.

"We've been back and forth on a couple of guys all season," Smith said. "We're just trying to find ourselves in that area. Hopefully, one of these guys becomes comfortable and takes it over, but it just hasn't happened yet."

Running back Reggie McClain returned to the field last Friday for Westland after missing the Davidson game because of an injury. McClain rushed for 41 yards on 12 carries.

Trombetti is concerned about Westland's triple option. Kilbourne beat Hilliard Darby 28-21 on Sept. 12, but not before the defense had trouble with the Panthers' double option.

"We did not do as well as we should have defending the option that game," Trombetti said. "Now that Westland runs the triple option you throw in that pitch aspect. You have to go back to assignment football. You need to make sure the guy who is assigned to the dive hits the dive every time and guy assigned to the quarterback has to hit the quarterback whether or not either player has the ball. That way everyone knows when the ball is pitched, we need to rally the troops and track them down."

Fullback Mike Johnson led the Wolves with 59 yards on 15 carries last Friday, and the rest of the Kilbourne runners totaled fewer than 50 yards.

Kilbourne had no better success through the air as Aaron Kingcade completed six of 18 passes for 59 yards.

"There really isn't anything we need to simply," Trombetti said. "We tagged as many things as we tagged so kids don't have to think as much. We just need to pin our ears back and come off the ball and hit some people.
We need to be quick thinking, get after it and have some fun with it."

Friday's game ends Westland's three-game stretch of Davidson, Coffman and now Kilbourne. During the stretch, Smith has not concerned himself with the opponent, but simply on improving his team.

"We don't see much we can exploit with these guys," he said. "I expect coach Trombetti to take care of their weaknesses this week. They are a good team all the way around."