The OCC-Central Division contest Friday between the Upper Arlington High School football team and visiting Central Crossing appears to be a mismatch.

UA has a five-game winning streak and is 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central. Central Crossing is 0-6 and 0-3 and has lost 14 consecutive games since downing Whetstone 12-10 on Aug. 31, 2007.
But Golden Bears coach Mike Golden insists his team will not overlook the Comets.

"We're taking them very, very seriously," he said. "They do some good things. They have some good athletes. They start each game with a lot of spirit and they're committed to what they're trying to do. We don't want to be the ones to give them their first win.

"If we keep in mind that the main goal is to improve yourself and your team, everything will take care of itself."

UA is averaging 33.7 points and possesses one of the strongest rushing attacks in the area. Isaac Wildermuth leads the Bears with 682 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Fullback Tommy Farwick has 644 yards and running back Alex Drake has 502, and the two have combined for eight touchdowns.

"They have a wonderful running attack," Central Crossing coach Rick Vaughn said. "Their running backs are impressive. It seems like they have four or five of them that they use and they all have different skills."

Opponents are averaging 16.1 points against the Bears, whose defense includes linebackers Chris Cennamo and Mark Crawford, strong safety Anthony Finissi and cornerback Noah Krimm. But the defense has grown stingier as the Bears have allowed only 33 points over the last three games.

UA forced five turnovers in a 24-14 win over Hilliard Darby last Friday, with Crawford, Krimm and backup safety Will Allen recording interceptions.

"I think the kids are getting more experience," Golden said of his defense, which returned only two regular starters from a year ago in Crawford and Finissi.

"It's a good group of kids. They're really committed to studying the (opponent's offense), and we're getting a lot of speed on the field and changing up our schemes a little bit."

Central Crossing is averaging fewer than seven points per game. The Comets, whose highest point total came in a 27-14 loss to Teays Valley on Sept. 5, have scored a total of seven points over their last three games.

"We have a lot of skill on offense," said Vaughn, whose offense includes quarterback Jeff Yates, center Julian Jackson, tight end Shajuan Grace, running back Casey Beatty and slotback Cameron Tarver. "We just need to unleash it a little more. Our biggest challenge is handling the ball. We need to keep the ball for a length of time."

Despite the fact that opponents are averaging 32.2 points against Central Crossing, Vaughn likes what he has seen from his defense, which includes linebackers Tommy Black, Sam Burns and Joe Usner and Grace at end.

"Defensively, we're pretty sound," Vaughn said. "We just find ways to shoot ourselves in the foot."

That was the case in a 38-0 loss to Hilliard Davidson last Friday. Central Crossing limited the Wildcats 198 total yards, but the Comets allowed two blocked punts - one was returned for a touchdown and the other set up a touchdown - and the Wildcats returned an interception for a touchdown.

"We're pretty inconsistent at times," Vaughn said. "That's really been our issue. But our kids play hard to the bitter end. We'll continue with that."